42 U.S. Code § 18361 - Sense of Congress on the Space Shuttle program
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Congress makes the following findings:
(1) The Space Shuttle program represents a national asset consisting of critical skills and capabilities, including the ability to lift large payloads into space and return them to Earth.
(b) Sense of Congress
It is the sense of Congress that—
(1) it is essential that the retirement of the Space Shuttle and the transition to new human space flight capabilities be done in a manner that builds upon the legacy of this national asset; and
(2) it is imperative for the United States to retain the skills and the industrial capability to provide a follow-on Space Launch System that is primarily designed for missions beyond near-Earth space, while offering some potential for supplanting shuttle delivery capabilities to low-Earth orbit, particularly in support of ISS requirements, if necessary.