The CHIPS Act has a NASA authorization provision

A revised NASA authorization bill is currently being considered by the Senate; it formally approves the organization’s Artemis lunar exploration mission and extends the International Space Station’s operational period. The Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act, a measure that primarily aims to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing, was released by the Senate Commerce Committee on July 20. The announcement was made the day after the Senate approved a procedural motion to move the legislation forward by a vote of 64–34.

The United States Innovation and Competition Act, a Senate measure, and its counterpart, the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Preeminence in Technology and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act, a House bill, were in conference negotiations when the CHIPS Act was born.

In contrast to the House bill, the Senate version contained a NASA authorization act. Although it does not provide a precise amount of funds for the agency, the CHIPS Act does contain a NASA authorization. The version of the new bill, on the other hand, is more concerned with policy matters in the agency’s other divisions, such as science and exploration.

In accordance with the bill, NASA is required to create a “Moon to Mars Program Office” inside the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate. It would be in charge of what it refers to as the Moon to Mars Program, which encompasses the agency’s Artemis program of lunar exploration flights as well as potential human expeditions to Mars. The associate administrator for the development of exploration systems would be the office’s immediate supervisor, who would be in charge of the whole Artemis endeavor.

The Artemis program’s well-known components, such as the lunar gateway, the Space Launch System, Exploration Ground Systems, Orion, Human Landing System, spacesuits, and other necessities for its objectives, would be included in that program. Following the first successful Orion crewed launch, which would be the Artemis 2 mission no sooner than 2024, the law instructs NASA to launch the SLS on an annual basis, increasing to two missions a year “to the extent possible” after the first crewed lunar landing. According to current NASA plans, there will only be one SLS/Orion mission, with none in some years, through the close of the decade.

By the Artemis 4 mission in 2027, NASA would have to possess the Block 1B version of SLS, with the bigger Exploration Upper Stage, available. A report on the Mobile Launcher 2’s progress is also required, whose development has had significant cost and time overruns. This directive is given to NASA.

Apart from mandating at least one test flight without crew members, which is a strategy NASA was already taking, the measure doesn’t provide any guidance on the Human Landing System. The earlier Senate version, in contrast, gave NASA the authority to choose a second lander and $10 billion for the entire HLS program. NASA is currently following this direction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *