H.R.6063 - National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008
To authorize the programs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and for other purposes. view all titles (6)
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- Short: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008 as passed house.
- Short: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008 as introduced.
- Short: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008 as reported to house.
- Official: To authorize the programs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and for other purposes. as introduced.
- Short: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008 as passed senate.
- Short: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008 as enacted.
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Official Summary6/18/2008--Passed House amended. National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008 - Title I: Authorization of Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2009 - (Sec. 101) Authorizes appropriations to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for FY2009 for: (1) sc
Official Summary6/18/2008--Passed House amended. National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008 - Title I: Authorization of Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2009 -
(Sec. 101)Authorizes appropriations to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for FY2009 for:
(5) space operations;
(6) cross-agency support programs; and
(7) the inspector general. Authorizes additional appropriations for use to accelerate the initial operational capability of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle and the Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle. Title II: Earth Science -
(Sec. 201)Declares that the goal for NASA's Earth Science program shall be to pursue a program of Earth observations, research, and applications activities to better understand Earth, how it supports life, and how human activities affect its ability to do so in the future. Directs NASA to assume a leadership role in developing and carrying out an international Earth observations-based research and applications program.
(Sec. 202)Requires the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to arrange with the National Academies (the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Research Council, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine) for a study, and a plan to implement the study, to determine a governance structure for U.S. Earth Observations programs to meet evolving U.S. Earth information needs and facilitate U.S. participation in global Earth Observations initiatives.
(Sec. 203)Directs the Administrator of NASA (the Administrator) to work toward establishing an international effort to pursue the missions, and a plan to implement the missions, recommended in the National Academies' decadal survey "Earth Science and Applications from Space."
(Sec. 204)Expresses the sense of the Congress that experimental NASA sensors and missions that have the potential to benefit society if transitioned into operational monitoring systems be transitioned into operational status. Requires the OSTP Director, in consultation with the Administrator, the Administrator of the Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and other stakeholders, to develop a process for transitioning NASA earth science and space weather missions or sensors into operational status. Requires NASA and NOAA to:
(1) each designate an agency official who shall have the responsibility for leading NASA's and NOAA's transition activities and interagency coordination; and
(2) prepare a joint plan for conducting the transition of each mission or sensor that is determined appropriate for transition.
(Sec. 205)Requires the Administrator to prepare a plan for the continuation of Landsat thermal infrared data collection or its equivalent, including a budget plan. Instructs the Administrator to provide, as an option, for the development of a thermal infrared sensor, at minimum cost, to be flown on the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, with minimum delay to the schedule of such Mission.
(Sec. 206)Reauthorizes the continuation of the development of the Glory Mission, which will examine how aerosols and solar energy affect the Earth's climate. Requires the Administrator to transmit a new baseline report in accordance with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005.
(Sec. 207)Requires NASA to develop a plan for a Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), including establishing a public-private partnership for the mission and entering into a partnership to use the spacecraft for its primary or other purposes.
(Sec. 208)Requires NASA to give high priority to those parts of its existing activities with NOAA that are related to the study of tornadoes, tornado-force winds, and other factors determined to influence the development of tornadoes to improve the ability to predict tornado events. Instructs the Administrator to examine whether there are additional activities with NOAA that should be undertaken in the area of tornado research.
(Sec. 209)Directs the Administrator to work to ensure that NASA's policies on the sharing of climate-related data respond to the recommendations of the report of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on climate change research and data-sharing policies and to the recommendations on the processing, distribution, and archiving of data by the National Academies Earth Science Decadal Survey, Earth Science and Applications from Space, and other relevant National Academies reports, to enhance and facilitate their availability and widest possible use to ensure public access to accurate and current data on global warming. Title III: Aeronautics -
(Sec. 301)Requires the establishment of an environmentally friendly commercial aircraft research and development initiative involving NASA, universities, industry, and other research organizations as appropriate.
(Sec. 302)Directs the Administrator to align the fundamental aeronautics research program in addressing high priority technology challenges of the National Academies' Decadal Survey of Civil Aeronautics and to work to increase the involvement of organizations, and especially of universities, in such program.
(Sec. 303)Requires the establishment of a research program with industry for the collection of data on the perceived impact of sonic booms which would enable the promulgation of a standard for overland commercial supersonic flight operations. Instructs the Administrator to ensure that sonic boom research is coordinated with the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and as appropriate, make use of the expertise of the Partnership for Air Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction Center of Excellence sponsored by NASA and the FAA.
(Sec. 304)Directs the Administrator to arrange with the National Research Council for a review of NASA's aviation safety-related research programs.
(Sec. 305)Directs the FAA Administrator, in coordination with NASA and the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, to establish a research initiative on the impact of aviation on the climate. Requires development of a research plan.
(Sec. 306)Directs the FAA Administrator to establish a research program on methods to improve the certification of new technologies for their introduction into the national airspace system. Requires development of a research plan. Requires such Administrator to have the National Research Council conduct a review of such plan.
(Sec. 307)Requires the establishment of a program of collaborative research with NOAA on convective weather events, for significantly improving the reliability of 2-hour to 6- hour aviation weather forecasts.
(Sec. 308)Establishes a joint Aeronautics Research and Development Advisory Committee to:
(1) make recommendations regarding the coordination of research and development activities of NASA and the FAA;
(2) make recommendations for, and monitor development and implementation of processes for, transitioning research and development from NASA and the FAA to external entities for further development as appropriate; and
(3) make recommendations regarding the status of the activities of NASA and the FAA's research and development programs as they relate to the recommendations in the National Research Council's 2006 report entitled "Decadal Survey of Civil Aeronautics," and the recommendations in subsequent National Research Council reports of a similar nature. Prohibits federal employees from being members of the Advisory Committee.
(Sec. 309)Requires research and development activities performed by the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate with the primary objective of assisting in the development of a flight project in another Mission Directorate to be funded by the Mission Directorate seeking assistance.
(Sec. 310)Requires (under current law, permits) the Administrator to award grants for the establishment of university-based Centers for Research on Aviation Training. Title IV: International Exploration Initiative -
(Sec. 401)Expresses the sense of the Congress that the President should invite America's friends and allies to participate in an international initiative under the leadership of the United States to expand human and robotic presence into the solar system, including the exploration and utilization of the Moon, near-Earth asteroids, Lagrangian points, and eventually Mars and its moons.
(Sec. 402)Instructs the Administrator, in order to maximize the cost-effectiveness of the U.S.'s long-term exploration and utilization activities, to ensure that activities in NASA's lunar exploration program be designed and implemented in a manner that gives strong consideration as to how those activities might also help meet the requirements of future exploration and utilization activities beyond the Moon. Requires:
(1) the timetable of the lunar phase of the international exploration initiative to be determined by the availability of funding and agreement on an international framework for the conducting of such initiative; and
(2) once an exploration-related project enters its development phase, the Administrator to seek to complete that project without undue delays.
(Sec. 403)Prohibits NASA, as it works toward establishing a lunar outpost, from making any plans that would require an outpost to be occupied to maintain its viability. Requires any such outpost to be operable as a human-tended facility capable of remote or autonomous operation for extended periods.
Designates the U.S. portion of the first human-tended outpost established on the surface of the Moon as the "Neil A. Armstrong Lunar Outpost."
Expresses the intent of Congress that NASA make use of commercial services in support of its lunar outpost activities.
(Sec. 404)Requires the establishment of an exploration technology research and development program that is not tied to specific flight projects and that has a funding goal of at least 10% of the total budget of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Requires the technology program to have the goal of having at least half of the funding allocated to external grants and contracts with universities, research institutions, and industry.
(Sec. 405)Directs the Administrator to prepare a plan that identifies and prioritizes the human and technical risks that will need to be addressed in carrying out human exploration beyond low Earth orbit and the research and development activities required to address those risks. Requires the plan to address the role of the International Space Station (ISS) in exploration risk mitigation.
(Sec. 406)Directs the Administrator to discuss with the appropriate representatives of spacefaring nations who have, or plan to have, crew transportation systems capable of orbital flight or flight beyond low-Earth orbit a common docking system standard to maximize the ability to rescue astronauts from disabled space vehicles.
(Sec. 407)Directs the Administrator to develop, and report on, a technology plan to enable dissemination of information to the public to allow the public to experience missions to the Moon, Mars, or other bodies within our solar system by leveraging advanced exploration technologies.
Instructs the Administrator to examine the feasibility of having NASA enter into contracts with appropriate public, private sector, and international partners to broadcast, including via the Internet, to the public images and multimedia records delivered from its missions in space.
(Sec. 408)Expresses the sense of the Congress regarding NASA's scientific and human exploration activities. Encourages the coordination of such activities in order to maximize the success of human exploration initiatives and furthering our understanding of the Universe that we explore.
(Sec. 409)Requires the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to update its report from 2004 on the budgetary analysis of NASA's Vision for the Nation's Space Exploration Program, including new estimates for Project Constellation, NASA's new generation of spacecraft designed for human spaceflight that will replace the Space Shuttle Program.
Title V: Space Science -
(Sec. 501)Requires the establishment of a cross-directorate technology development program for space and Earth science within the Science Mission Directorate for the development of new technology. Makes the program independent of flight projects presently under development. Requires NASA to have a goal of funding the program at five percent of the total Science Mission Directorate annual budget. Requires such program to be structured to include competitively awarded grants and contracts.
(Sec. 502)Instruct the Administrator to ensure that provision is made in the design and construction of all future observatory-class scientific spacecraft intended to be deployed in Earth orbit or at a Langrangian point in space for robotic or human servicing and repair.
(Sec. 503)Reaffirms Congress' support for a systematic, integrated program of exploration of the Martian surface, for specified purposes, including to examine Mars for future habitability and future human exploration. Provides that, such program should pursue launches at every Mars launch opportunity, leading to an eventual robotic sample return.
(Sec. 504)Expresses the sense of Congress that a balanced and adequately funded set of activities, consisting of NASA's research and analysis grants programs, technology development, science missions, and suborbital research activities, contributes to a robust science program and serves as a catalyst for innovation. Declares that Congress believes it is in the national interest to expand the size of NASA's suborbital research program.
(Sec. 505)Requires the Director of OSTP to develop a plan to restart the production of radioisotope thermoelectric generator material for deep space and other space science missions.
(Sec. 506)Directs the Administrator to arrange with the National Academies for an assessment of impediments to the conducting of interagency cooperation on space and Earth science missions, to provide lessons learned and best practices, and to recommend steps to help facilitate interagency collaborations on such missions.
(Sec. 507)Directs the Administrator to arrange for an assessment to identify the primary causes of cost growth in the space and Earth science spacecraft mission classes, and to make recommendations as to what changes, if any, should be made to contain costs and ensure frequent mission opportunities in NASA's science spacecraft mission programs.
(Sec. 508)Expresses the sense of the Congress with regard to the exploration of planets of the outer solar system and their satellites. Urges NASA to move forward with plans for an Outer Planets flagship mission to the Europa-Jupiter system or the Titan-Saturn system as soon as practicable within a balanced Planetary Science program. Title VI: Space Operations - Subtitle A: International Space Station -
(Sec. 601)Instructs the Administrator to ensure that the ISS remains capable for potential U.S. utilization through at least 2020. Prohibits the taking of any steps that would preclude its continued operation and utilization by the United States after 2016.
(Sec. 602)Requires the development of a research management plan for the ISS, which shall include a process for selecting and prioritizing research activities (including fundamental, applied, commercial, and other research) for flight on the ISS. Specifies that the plan be used to prioritize resources such as crew time, racks and equipment, and U.S. access to international research facilities and equipment. Requires the plan to identify the organization to be responsible for managing U.S. research on the ISS. Sets forth requirements with respect to:
(1) the transportation of research supplies to and from the ISS; and
(2) the development of an estimate of transportation requirements needed to support users of the ISS National Laboratory and of a plan for satisfying those requirements. Requires an assessment under which the Administrator shall:
(1) identify existing research equipment and racks and support equipment that are manifested for flight; and
(2) provide a description of the status of research equipment and facilities that were completed or in development prior to being canceled, and provide the budget and milestones for preparing the equipment for flight on the ISS. Establishes an advisory panel to monitor the activities and management of the ISS National Laboratory.
(Sec. 603)Requires the Administrator to develop a contingency plan and arrangements, including use of the ISS international partner cargo resupply capabilities, to ensure the continued viability of the ISS in the event that U.S. commercial cargo resupply services are not available during any extended period after the Space Shuttle is retired. Subtitle B: Space Shuttle -
(1) the utilization flights ULF-4 and ULF-5 to be considered part of the Space Shuttle baseline flight manifest, and to be flown prior to the retirement of the Space Shuttle; and
(2) the flight of one additional Space Shuttle flight to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the ISS prior to the retirement of the Space Shuttle. Retires the Space Shuttle following the completion of the baseline flight manifest and the flight to deliver the Spectrometer, events that are anticipated to occur in 2010.
(Sec. 612)Requires the provision of a plan to Congress for the disposition of the remaining Space Shuttle orbiters and other Space Shuttle program-related hardware and facilities after the retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet. Requires the plan to include a process by which educational institutions, science museums, and other appropriate organizations may acquire, through loan or disposal by the federal government, such hardware. Bars the disposal of any Space Shuttle-related hardware before the completion of such plan.
(Sec. 613)Establishes an office within NASA's Office of Human Capital Management to assist local communities affected by the termination of the Space Shuttle program. Requires the office to offer technical assistance and serve as a clearinghouse to assist communities in identifying services available from other federal agencies. Terminates such office's operations 24 months after the last Space Shuttle flight. Subtitle C: Launch Services -
(Sec. 621)Requires, in preparation for the awarding of contracts to follow up on the current NASA Launch Services (NLS) contracts, development of a strategy for providing commercial launch services in support of NASA's small and medium-sized science, space operations, and exploration missions. Requires a certain report describing such strategy. Title VII: Education -
(Sec. 701)Requires preparation of a plan identifying actions taken or planned in response to the recommendations of the National Academies report, "NASA's Elementary and Secondary Education Program: Review and Critique." Requires, for those actions that have not been implemented, the plan to include a schedule and budget required to support the actions.
(Sec. 702)Directs the Administrator to arrange for a review of the Explorer Schools program to evaluate its goals, status, plans, and accomplishments.
(Sec. 703)Expresses the sense of the Congress regarding support for NASA's educational programs. Urges NASA to support programs such as EarthKAM. Title VIII: Near Earth Objects -
(Sec. 801)Reaffirms the policy direction established in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005 for NASA to detect, track, catalogue, and characterize the physical characteristics of near-Earth objects equal to or greater than 140 meters in diameter.
(Sec. 803)Directs the Administrator to issue requests for information on:
(1) a low-cost space mission to rendezvous with, attach a tracking device, and characterize the Apophis asteroid that scientists estimate will in 2029 pass at a distance from Earth that is closer than geostationary satellites; and
(2) a medium-sized space mission to detect near-Earth objects equal to or greater than 140 meters in diameter.
(Sec. 804)Requires the Director of OSTP to:
(1) develop a policy for notifying federal agencies and relevant emergency response institutions of an impending near-Earth object threat, if near-term public safety is at stake; and
(2) recommend a federal agency(ies) to be responsible for protecting the nation from a near-Earth object that is anticipated to collide with Earth and implement a deflection campaign, in consultation with international bodies, should one be required.
(Sec. 805)Instructs the Administrator to maintain a planetary radar that is comparable to the capability provided through the NASA Deep Space Network Goldstone facility.
(Sec. 806)Reiterates the Congress' support for the use of the Arecibo Observatory for NASA-funded near-Earth object-related activities. Instructs the Administrator to ensure the availability of the Observatory's planetary radar to support these activities until the National Academies' review of NASA's approach for the survey and deflection of near-Earth objects, including a determination of the role of Arecibo, is completed.
(Sec. 807)Expresses the sense of the Congress that the United States should seek to obtain commitments for cooperation from other nations with significant resources for contributing to a thorough and timely search for such objects and an identification of their characteristics. Title IX: Commercial Initiatives -
(Sec. 901)Expresses the sense of the Congress regarding the use of commercial services in conducting the activities of NASA's space exploration program. Encourages NASA to look for such service opportunities and to make use of the commercial sector to provide those services. Expresses the sense of the Congress that U.S. entrepreneurial space companies have the potential to develop and deliver innovative technology solutions at affordable costs. Encourages NASA to use such companies to conduct research and development activities and to ensure that firms that rely on fixed-price proposals are not disadvantaged when NASA seeks to procure technology development.
(Sec. 902)Sets forth requirements for the use of commercial crew transfer and crew rescue services for the ISS. Requires NASA to issue a notice of intent to enter into a funded, competitively awarded Space Act Agreement with two or more commercial entities for a Phase I Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) crewed vehicle demonstration program. Authorizes appropriations for FY2009 to NASA for such program. Expresses Congress' intent that funding for such program not come at the expense of full funding of the amounts authorized for exploration under title I of this Act, and for future fiscal years, for Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle development, Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle development, or ISS cargo delivery.
Authorizes appropriations to NASA for the provision of ISS-compatible docking adaptors and other relevant technologies to be made available to the commercial crew providers selected to service the ISS. Requires, if a commercial provider demonstrates the capability to provide ISS crew transfer and crew rescue services and to satisfy NASA ascent, entry, and ISS proximity operations safety requirements, NASA to enter into an ISS crew transfer and crew rescue services contract with that commercial provider for a portion of NASA's anticipated ISS crew transfer and crew rescue requirements from the time the provider commences operations under contract with NASA through 2016, with an option of extending through 2020. Title X: Revitalization of NASA Institutional Capabilities -
(Sec. 1001)Requires a review of NASA's information security controls by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Requires a report on intrusions of NASA's network resources.
(Sec. 1002)Ensures that adequate maintenance and upgrade of NASA's Centers is performed regularly.
(Sec. 1003)Requires an external review of NASA's laboratories. Title XI: Other Provisions -
(Sec. 1101)Requires the Director of OSTP to develop a plan for sustaining specified space-based measurements of solar wind from the L-1 Lagrangian point in space and for dissemination of the data for operational purposes. Directs the Administrator, in coordination with NSF, NOAA, and other relevant agencies, to initiate a research program to:
(1) conduct or supervise research projects on impacts of space weather to aviation, including impacts on communication, navigation, avionic systems, and airline passengers and personnel; and
(2) facilitate the transfer of technology from space weather research programs to federal agencies with operational responsibilities and to the private sector. Authorizes the use of grants or cooperative agreements to carry out such research program.
Directs the Administrator to arrange with the National Research Council for a study of the impacts of space weather on the current and future U.S. aviation industry, and in particular to examine the risks for Over-The-Pole (OTP) and Ultra-Long Range (ULR) operations.
(Sec. 1102)Directs the Administrator to initiate discussions with the appropriate representatives of other spacefaring nations to determine a framework under which information intended to promote safe access into outer space, operations in outer space, and return from outer space to Earth free from physical or radio-frequency interference can be shared among those nations.
(Sec. 1103)Requires the Director of OSTP to carry out a study of the impact of current export control policies and implementation directives on the U.S. aerospace industry and its competitiveness in global markets, and on the ability of U.S. government agencies to carry out cooperative activities in science and technology and human space flight.
(Sec. 1104)Requires a survey of astronauts and flight surgeons regarding astronaut health care. Instructs that the survey questions and the analysis of the results of such survey be evaluated by experts who are independent of NASA. Provides for such survey to be administered at least biennially.
(Sec. 1105)Directs the Administrator to enter into agreements periodically with the National Academies for decadal surveys to take stock of the status and opportunities for Earth and space science discipline fields and aeronautics research and to recommend priorities for research and programmatic areas over the next decade. Requires that such agreements include independent estimates of life cycle costs and technical readiness of missions assessed in the surveys whenever possible.
(Sec. 1106)Amends the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 to require the Administrator, in selecting topics for innovation prize competitions, to consider prize goals such as the demonstration of the ability to provide energy to the lunar surface from space-based solar power systems, demonstration of innovative near-Earth object survey and deflection strategies, and innovative approaches to improving the safety and efficiency of aviation systems. Increases the maximum award amount for an innovation prize.
(Sec. 1107)Requires the Director of OSTP to work with other appropriate federal agencies to establish an interagency committee to conduct a study to
(1) identify the issues and challenges with establishing a space launch range and facilities for commercial space missions in close proximity to federal launch ranges or other federal facilities; and
(2) develop a mechanism such that states seeking to establish such commercial space launch ranges will be able to interface with the federal government on issues related to the establishment of such ranges.
(Sec. 1108)Directs NASA to contract with an organization that has demonstrated the ability to partner with NASA centers, aerospace contractors, and academic institutions to carry out a NASA outreach and technology assistance program for small, minority-owned, and women-owned businesses in communities across the United States. Provides for such program to support the mission of NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program to provide technical assistance through joint partnerships with industry, academia, government agencies, and national laboratories. Species the activities that will be undertaken under the outreach and technology assistance program. Requires submission of a specified report on the efforts and accomplishments of the program. Authorizes appropriations for FY2009 to NASA for such program.
(Sec. 1109)Prohibits NASA from initiating or implementing a reduction-in-force, or conducting any other involuntary separations of permanent, non-Senior Executive Service, civil servant employees except for cause on charges of misconduct, delinquency, or inefficiency prior to December 31, 2010.
(Sec. 1110)Prohibits NASA from limiting the percentage of employees in term positions, excluding students and cooperatives, within NASA to less than or equal to ten percent of the total number of non-Senior Executive Service, civil servant employees in FY2009.
(Sec. 1111)Provides for the temporary continuation of health insurance coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) for employees who are terminated from the Space Shuttle Program, involuntarily separated from a position due to a reduction-in-force or declination of a directed reassignment or transfer of function, or a voluntary separation from a surplus position in NASA. Makes such an individual receiving temporary continuation of coverage under FEHB liable for not more than the employee contributions required of an employee enrolled under the individual's same health benefits plan and level of benefits. Requires NASA to pay the remaining portion of the amount required under FEHB necessary for administrative expenses. Makes the requirement for such temporary continuation of coverage applicable to individuals whose continued coverage is based on a separation occurring on or after enactment of this section and before December 31, 2010.
(Sec. 1112)Expresses the sense of the Congress that NASA should not dilute, distort, suppress, or impede scientific research or the dissemination thereof.
(Sec. 1113)Expresses the sense of the Congress regarding the need for a robust and highly skilled workforce at NASA. Urges NASA to work with other U.S. government agencies responsible for programs related to space and the aerospace industry to implement policies, including those emphasizing improvement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, to sustain and expand the diverse workforce available to NASA.
(Sec. 1114)States that the provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 regarding the procurement and acquisition of alternative and synthetic fuels by federal agencies do not prohibit NASA from entering into a contract to purchase generally available fuel that is not an alternative or synthetic fuel or predominately produced from a nonconventional petroleum source, as specified in this section.
(Sec. 1115)Establishes a scholarship program in honor of Christa McAuliffe, who died in the 1986 Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster. Directs the scholarship fund to provide scholarships each year of $10,000 each to three women who are going to college to study in fields related to the mission of NASA, with the goal of seeking careers in space science, aeronautics, and other fields related to NASA.
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