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Newt, the final frontier

Newt Gingrich's Space Coast speech last night about colonizing the moon isn't so new. When he was a relatively new member of Congress, in 1981, then-Rep. Gingrich sponsored the National Space and Aeronautics Policy Act of 1981

A summary:

- Title I: Declaration of Policy - Establishes a comprehensive national civilian space and aeronautics policy to provide the basis for a world information system, earth orbital facilities, exploration of the solar system, and the development of other space and aeronautical activities.

Title II: National Space and Aeronautics Policy - Sets forth national space and aeronautics principles in order to achieve the peaceful expansion of space and atmospheric environments for the benefit of mankind and the nation.

Title III: Program - Directs the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), in cooperation with private, governmental, and international groups, to pursue aggressive research and systems development in space and aeronautics science and technology. Specifies programs and target dates for the achievement of such research and systems development.

Directs the Administrator of NASA, together with the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, in consultation with appropriate Federal agencies, to develop and submit to Congress a preliminary five year program including proposed annual funding requirements and a detailed research and development schedule. Requires a final five-year program, a ten-year plan, and 30-year policy goal to be submitted to Congress no later than one year after the date of enactment of this Act. Requires that status reports and revisions to the plan be submitted annually with the budget request beginning the third year after the enactment of this Act.

Title IV: Government of Space Territories - Sets forth provisions for the government of space territories, including constitutional protections, the right to self- government, and admission to statehood.