U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) led a bipartisan group of 16 Senators to call for strong funding for NASA’s Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) in a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. The Orion spacecraft and SLS rocket are the cornerstone programs of NASA’s ongoing human space exploration efforts.

“Exploring deep space is vital to inspiring our future innovators and stimulating our economy through technological innovation and development,” wrote the Senators in the letter. “These unparalleled space exploration systems will enable humans to travel farther into the solar system than ever before, spawn new scientific advancements, and result in unprecedented scientific discoveries about our universe.”

The Orion spacecraft and SLS are currently being built and tested in preparation for a 2018 launch to test the capabilities needed for human deep-space exploration. The first human-crewed mission for SLS and Orion is planned for 2021. Thousands of manufacturers and suppliers from across the country are building the components for the Orion systems, driving American innovation and supporting economic growth.

The letter was also signed by Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), David Vitter (R-LA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Edward Markey (D-MA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

The full text of the letter is copied below or available here.

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