Rep. Mike Garcia (CA-25) called for the continued investment in U.S. space exploration during a House Science, Space, and Technology hearing on the FY22 Budget Proposal for NASA with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
During the hearing, Garcia stressed how funding U.S. space exploration is critical when it comes to remaining competitive on a global scale. He specifically called for the need to fund the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) within the NASA budget, which the Biden administration cut from the NASA FY22 budget.
“We have a program in my district called SOFIA…that is set to be terminated within this budget request. I would request that you look at that and at least wait for the senior review in FY22 before we make any decisions. I would be happy to support you in those conversations and host you in our district for that, as well,” Garcia said during the hearing.
SOFIA is a telescope carried aboard a Boeing 747SP aircraft that provides a crucial NASA observation tool for astronomers. This tool allows astronomers to view the solar system significantly clearer than what previous methods allowed.
Garcia has been a consistent voice calling for a strong U.S. presence in space and advancing space exploration technology.
“Space is not only a platform where America can thrive as a nation, but it is a place where we can become vulnerable to foreign threats. We owe it to the generations who came before us that sacrificed so much in the name of progress. In such a divisive period of American history, a modern space program is something we should all be able to get behind,” Garcia said.