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Trump signs NASA bill, hands Ted Cruz the pen

"This bill will ensure important NASA exploration efforts are authorized and properly funded for in 2017, including the Mission to Mars".

President Trump just signed a bill authorizing $19.5 billion dollars in funding for NASA - the first such authorization bill for the space agency in seven years. It continues support for the Commercial Crew Program, which will carry American astronauts into space from American soil once again. Marco Rubio (R-FL), provides NASA with $19.5 billion worth of funding for the 2018 fiscal year, with the aim of sending a "crewed mission to Mars in the 2030s".

The NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 authorizes funding for the fiscal year that begins October 1. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Rep. John Culberson, R-Tex., look on in the Oval Office of the White House March 21, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

President Donald Trump speaks during a bill signing ceremony as Vice President Mike Pence and legislators, including Sen. "We pioneered space travel and space exploration so it's fantastic to see the president make such a priority of it".

The authorization bill mandates that NASA can't acquire space flight services from a foreign entity unless there are no NASA vehicles or USA commercial providers available. The bill reaffirms NASA's commitment to sending crewed missions to Mars and emphasizes commercial partnerships, including the Commercial Crew Program through which NASA hopes to start launching American astronauts into space off United States soil as soon as next year. "I'm delighted to sign this bill".

Also attending the signing were Sens. Orion could be used to carry astronauts to the moon or to help ferry them to deep-space destinations, and the new law also calls on the agency to investigate whether the spacecraft could be used to ferry humans to the International Space Station.

Roby is on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies.

".We're going to be bringing together the best and the brightest in NASA and also in the private sector".

"We could send congress into space", he replied sheepishly.

Trump also praised some of the high points of the bill, including the health care provision that allows NASA to set up a framework to treat former astronauts for medical issues sustained as a result of spaceflight.