Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., says his measure, called the Commercial Space Jobs and Investment Act, would also create up to five regional business enterprise zones in the United States to attract commercial space ventures and create jobs in regions expected to experience high unemployment when the space shuttle is retired next year, SPACE.com reported Thursday.
"President Kennedy was right when he predicted that space exploration would create a great number of new companies and strengthen our economy," Nelson, whose state is home to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, said. "What we're doing now is everything we can to ensure KSC's continued importance to our nation's space exploration effort."
NASA and the U.S. Commerce Department have outlined plans for spending $40 million to spur job growth in Florida and other states affected by the end of the space shuttle program.
After NASA's final shuttle missions are complete, the space agency will have to depend on Russian, Japanese and European space agencies to ferry crews and supplies to the International Space Station until U.S. commercial spacecraft or new NASA space vehicles are ready, SPACE.com reported.
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