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42 U.S. Code § 18321 - Human space flight beyond low-Earth orbit

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(a) FindingsCongress makes the following findings:
The extension of the human presence from low-Earth orbit to other regions of space beyond low-Earth orbit will enable missions to the surface of the Moon and missions to deep space destinations such as near-Earth asteroids and Mars.
The regions of cis-lunar space are accessible to other national and commercial launch capabilities, and such access raises a host of national security concerns and economic implications that international human space endeavors can help to address.
The ability to support human missions in regions beyond low-Earth orbit and on the surface of the Moon can also drive developments in emerging areas of space infrastructure and technology.
Developments in space infrastructure and technology can stimulate and enable increased space applications, such as in-space servicing, propellant resupply and transfer, and in situ resource utilization, and open opportunities for additional users of space, whether national, commercial, or international.
A long term objective for human exploration of space should be the eventual international exploration of Mars.
Future international missions beyond low-Earth orbit should be designed to incorporate capability development and availability, affordability, and international contributions.
Human space flight and future exploration beyond low-Earth orbit should be based around a pay-as-you-go approach. Requirements in new launch and crew systems authorized in this chapter should be scaled to the minimum necessary to meet the core national mission capability needed to conduct cis-lunar missions. These initial missions, along with the development of new technologies and in-space capabilities can form the foundation for missions to other destinations. These initial missions also should provide operational experience prior to the further human expansion into space.
(b) Report on international collaboration
(1) Report requiredNot later than 120 days after October 11, 2010, the Administrator shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report on the following assets and capabilities:
Any effort by NASA to expand and ensure effective international collaboration on the ISS.
The efforts of NASA, including its approach and progress, in defining near-term, cis-lunar space human missions.
(2) NASA contributionsIn preparing the report required by paragraph (1), the Administrator shall assume that NASA will contribute to the efforts described in that paragraph the following:
A multi-purpose crew vehicle.
Such other technology elements the Administrator may consider appropriate, and which the Administrator shall specifically identify in the report.