Live From Space - The International Space Station
Opening Statement By Hon. Mark Udall
Good afternoon. I want to join the Chairman in welcoming the witnesses to today’s hearing - especially Dr. John Phillips, who will be talking to us live from the International Space Station. And I’d also like to take a moment to express my personal appreciation to our witnesses - and to all of the astronaut corps - for the service that you render to our nation.
Human space exploration involves risk. Yet it is an undertaking that I believe is important to the future of our nation. You have been willing to accept the risk, because you also believe in the importance of human space exploration.
Fundamentally, NASA’s science and exploration programs are about pushing back the boundaries of our ignorance. And, properly utilized, I believe that that is what the International Space Station program can do - push back the boundaries of our ignorance across a range of scientific and technological disciplines.
The advances we make on the International Space Station have the potential to prepare us for challenging human missions beyond low Earth orbit. They also have the potential to benefit life back here on Earth, if we are willing to invest in the necessary fundamental and applied research.
To that end, I would hope that as NASA contemplates a restructuring of its ISS research program, it does not unduly narrow its focus - we have spent too much to build the Space Station not to try to make optimal use of its capabilities. However, that is an issue for another day.
At today’s hearing, I look forward to learning more about what it is actually like to live and work in space. I’d also like to learn more about how the astronauts on the ISS are coping with the impact of the Shuttle fleet’s grounding.
Mr. Chairman, today’s hearing should be fascinating. I want to thank you for holding it, and I look forward to the testimony of our witnesses. Thank you.
1 - Dr. John Phillips
NASA Astronaut International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 11 crew International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 11 crew
2 - Dr. Peggy Whitson
NASA Astronaut ISS Expedition 5 crew ISS Expedition 5 crew
Download the Witness Testimony
3 - Michael Finke
NASA Astronaut ISS Expedition 9 crew ISS Expedition 9 crew