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Mikulski Will Support Asteroid Initiative, Not Sure About Orion, Planetary Requests

U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Speaking to the Maryland Space Business Roundtable today, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said that she will support President Obama's new asteroid retrieval initiative, but expressed concern about the request for the Orion spacecraft and planetary exploration.

Applauding the FY2014 request of $17.7 billion for NASA overall, which she said was a "$200 million increase over last year ...we're going to keep that," she went on to note the President's proposal to capture an asteroid and said "we support him on that." She quickly added, however, that she is concerned about the proposed cut to Orion and stressed the reality that, with Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) as vice chairman of the full committee, it was not politically possible to cut that program. Throughout her talk she praised Shelby for working with her in a bipartisan manner to get the final FY2013 Continuing Resolution (CR) passed and their effective working relationship over many years.

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