WASHINGTON, D.C. — A group of NASA astronauts, including Richland native Kayla Barron, met with Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) on December 6 to discuss legislation impacting the industry.
Crew-3, consisting of Barron, Tom Marshburn and Raja Chari, along with NASA administrator Bill Nelson, spoke with Cantwell about the CHIPS and Science Act and the NASA Reauthorization Act 2020.
Crew-3 was on the fourth operational flight of a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, according to a press release from Cantwell’s office. It was the third crewed orbital flight in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, lasting 177 days.
The NASA Reauthorization Act 2020 was aimed toward recognizing the Artemis missions in U.S. law, according to the press release. The act was focused on the future of NASA and space exploration. It tried to do so by preparing for a future for a journey to Mars, extending ISS authorization, funding research and further exploration efforts, improving planetary defense measures and more.
The act led to authorization for Artemis missions and NASA requirements in the CHIPS and Science Act, which was passed in August 2022, according to the press release. It funded STEM education and research institutions with billions of dollars.
“All of this is so important right now because the bill I worked on is a really big investment in our nation’s exploration and science,” said Senator Cantwell. “But we won’t have anybody to implement it if we don’t get more young people into the sciences… We’ll never have enough people in science if we don’t get more women – so that’s part of the Artemis mission as well is to say to women, ‘We’re calling on you. So come on out because that’s how much work has to be done.’”
The Artemis I mission is currently in progress, expected to end December 11. There are 18 people being considered to go around the moon in the Artemis II mission, then land on the moon in the Artemis III mission. Barron is one of those 18.