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Feenstra: NASA Administrator Commits to Taking Necessary Steps to Root Out Potential Foreign Influence

During a House Science, Space, and Technology (SST) Committee hearing on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) fiscal year 2022 budget proposal, Rep. Randy Feenstra (IA-04) questioned Administrator Bill Nelson about the administration’s safeguards against foreign talent recruitment and NASA’s plan to further research sustainable aviation fuels.

Last week, Feenstra’s proposal to prevent government-funded researchers from participating in projects or programs that are run by any “foreign country of concern” — including China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia — passed the SST committee with bipartisan support. This effort seeks to prevent the theft of U.S. intellectual property.

Feenstra asked Nelson if NASA has any active program in place to root out potential foreign influence among employees. This is especially important in the space industry given China has emerged as an aggressive competitor in space exploration. Nelson committed to taking additional steps if necessary protocols are not already in place.

Additionally, Feenstra asked about potential research and development into sustainable aviation fuels, which could provide a new market for Iowa biofuels producers.

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