WATCH: Sen. Kelly, NASA Admin. Bill Nelson, CSA Pres. Lisa Campbell, Artemis II Crew Hold Capitol Hill Press Conference
Yesterday, Arizona Senator and former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly hosted NASA Administrator and former U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, Canadian Space Agency President Lisa Campbell, and the recently announced crew of the Artemis II mission for a press conference on Capitol Hill.
The group discussed the Artemis II mission, the value of space exploration, and the importance of supporting the U.S. space program.
“But just as always, NASA’s arrow is pointed up, towards the stars. As it should be,” said Senator Kelly during the press conference. “I’m committed to making sure we support these ambitions in the United States Senate. Because at a very basic level, humans are explorers. We want to see what’s over the next hill. We want to see what’s across the ocean. We want to see what’s on the surface of the moon and other planets. When we do that, we learn more about ourselves, but we also wind up developing significant technology that drives our economy for decades.”
Click here to watch the full press conference.
On Senator Kelly: In 1996, Kelly was selected as an astronaut in the same NASA class as his identical twin brother Scott. Senator Kelly’s first of four trips into space was as pilot of STS-108 in December 2001, during which he helped deliver equipment, supplies, and additional crew members to the International Space Station. All in all, Senator Kelly has spent more than 50 days in space — traveling over 20 million miles. He retired from NASA in 2011 after commanding Space Shuttle Endeavour on its final flight. Kelly was recently inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in Cape Canaveral. Find a full bio here.
On Administrator Nelson: Sen. Bill Nelson was sworn in as the 14th NASA administrator on May 3, 2021, tasked with carrying out the Biden-Harris administration’s vision for the agency. Nelson chaired the Space and Science Subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives for six years and the U.S. Senate for 12 years. He then served as the Ranking Member of the full Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Nelson was recognized as the leading space program advocate in Congress. In 1986 he flew on the 24th flight of the Space Shuttle. The mission on Columbia orbited the earth 98 times over six days. Nelson conducted 12 medical experiments including the first American stress test in space and a cancer research experiment sponsored by university researchers. Find a full bio here.
On Artemis II: Four astronauts will venture around the Moon on Artemis II, the first crewed mission on NASA’s path to establishing a long-term presence at the Moon for science and exploration through Artemis. The approximately 10-day flight will test NASA’s foundational human deep space exploration capabilities, the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, for the first time with astronauts and will pave the way for lunar surface missions, including landing the first woman and first person of color on the Moon. Learn more about the crew here. Learn more about Canadian Space Agency President Lisa Campbell here.