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Shaheen & Moran, Chair & Ranking Member of Senate Subcommittee that Funds NASA, Welcome Artemis II Astronauts to Washington

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Left to right: Shaheen and Moran meeting the Artemis II astronauts along with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Canadian Space Agency President Lisa Campbell; Shaheen delivering remarks.

(Washington, DC) -- U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, welcomed the Artemis II astronauts, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Bill Nelson and Canadian Space Agency President Lisa Campbell to Washington this week and gave brief statements on the importance of investing in the U.S. space program. The Artemis II astronauts will lead the next mission to the Moon, as well as other missions to enhance U.S. leadership in space exploration.

“As the Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NASA, it is an honor to host the Artemis II astronauts this week,” said Senator Shaheen. “I believe that setting and achieving ambitious targets as we return to the Moon and prepare to send humans to Mars is critical. We cannot take our continued U.S. leadership in space for granted when our global competitors, including China, are investing heavily in scientific and technological innovation. Ranking Member Moran and I have, on a bipartisan basis, fought to ensure that NASA has the resources to keep the Artemis missions on track. These missions demonstrate continued American leadership in the final frontier and inspire the next generation of STEM leaders to look up and dream big.”

“The Artemis II crew represents the next step in cementing America’s leadership in space exploration, while inspiring the next generation of astronauts, engineers, and scientists,” said Senator Moran. “This week, Sen. Shaheen and I had the honor of welcoming the crew, the NASA Administrator and leadership from the Canadian Space Agency to the United States Senate. The Artemis missions will further scientific discovery, create new economic benefits and deepen our alliances across the globe.”

Artemis II will be the first crewed flight test of the Orion spacecraft launching on the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.  The mission is currently scheduled for no earlier than November 2024.  Artemis II will orbit around the Moon for 10 days, confirming all the spacecraft’s systems operate as designed with crew aboard in the actual environment of deep space in order to pave the way for future lunar surface missions, including Artemis III in late 2025.

As Chair of the powerful Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, Shaheen writes the funding legislation that delivers resources to key federal programs and agencies, including NASA. In the fiscal year 2023 government funding law, Shaheen helped secure $25.4 billion for NASA. This funding supports critical programs ranging from climate research to space missions. In addition, within the $8 billion Shaheen secured for NASA Science, $805 million is for NASA Heliophysics, an increase of $27 million above the FY 2022 level. The University of New Hampshire is a leading heliophysics research institution, with instruments on 12 of 18 operating heliophysics missions.