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Congressman Biggs Introduces the Space Research Innovation Act

June 26, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Biggs introduced the Space Research Innovation Act to allow the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to partner with universities to conduct deep-space research and mission development. 

The Department of Defense has been successfully using these kinds of partnerships for decades at sites known as “university affiliated research centers” (UARC). NASA has experience managing a UARC as well, but it has never before worked with a university to plan and develop such a partnership from the ground up. Congressman Biggs issued the following statement:

“Last month, we witnessed an extraordinary achievement when for the first time in nearly a decade, U.S. astronauts returned to orbit in a domestically manufactured spacecraft.  Like all Americans, I was inspired by this remarkable feat, and it has encouraged me to think about ways for the U.S. to maintain its edge as a leader in space.

“Going forward, I believe we can sustain our competitive advantage by allowing our research universities to play a larger role in the nation’s space strategy, as I have emphasized in fruitful discussions with NASA’s visionary Administrator, Jim Bridenstine.  In many ways, these institutions are a perfect partner for NASA.  Not only do American universities benefit from some of the world’s best scientists, they are also natural incubators of multidisciplinary research and private sector cooperation.  Best of all, NASA missions affiliated with universities have a proven track record of reaching completion on-time and on-budget. 

“Universities benefit from the prestige and educational opportunities that a UARC brings; NASA benefits from the collaborative research.  My legislation will encourage more utilization of this mutually advantageous model to foster the next generation of space exploration and discovery.”

“Putting ASU at the forefront of advanced space research will help drive an economic opportunity for Arizona and represent another step toward assuring that we continue to lead in advanced technology.  Congressman Biggs has identified the benefit of a major university/NASA partnership and its impact on creating a dynamic and prosperous future and we applaud his wisdom in introducing legislation to help take us there.” – President Michael Crow, Arizona State University

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Congressman Andy Biggs is a second-term Representative from Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District, representing parts of Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, and Queen Creek. Congressman Biggs is a member of the House Judiciary and Science, Space, and Technology committees. He lives with his wife, Cindy, in Gilbert.