Kay Hutchinson Talks NASA

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) talked to the Houston Chronicle about her concerns about and vision for NASA. The senator, of course, chairs two panels with oversight over the space agency -- the science and space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee as well as the commerce, justice, and science subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

On her priorities: "It will be return to flight, finishing the space station, and renewing the commitment to science, which the space station is essential to do."

On the gap between retirement of the space shuttle (2010) and the first manned Crew Exploration Vehicle mission (2014): "I believe it is a security risk to our country to have a five-year lapse," she said. "We know now that Japan is looking at sending people into space. For America to go on a vacation for five years is unacceptable."

On saving Hubble: not if the mission would "take away from the capability to return to flight, finish the space station and do what we need to do to keep going towards Mars."

The senator says she will hold hearings in April in May: on the shuttle's future, and the space station and scientific research.

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