Space Policy and Election 2012

Obama's plans for NASA changes met with harsh criticism, Washington Post

"They made a mistake when they rolled out their space program, because they gave the perception that they had killed the manned space program," said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who disagrees with that perception but wants the Obama plan modified. Nelson said the president should declare during the Florida conference that NASA's goal is to send humans to Mars. Nelson noted that the Interstate 4 corridor through Central Florida is critical for national candidates. "I think it has a lot of repercussions for the president. If a national candidate does not carry the I-4 corridor, they don't win Florida," Nelson said."

Keith's note: The buzz at KSC and among the Florida Congressional delegation is that President Obama will hold a "Town Hall" style meeting on 15 April and that he will use that event to announce that he is authorizing one additional space shuttle mission after the four remaining flights currently on the shuttle manifest. This would stretch out employment for shuttle workers by as much as six months - well into the Summer and early Fall of 2011 - just as the 2012 presidential campaign season is starting to fire up.

The question I have to ask is why do this? In so doing it just opens the door to delaying the shut down of the shuttle program initiated by President Bush. If the White House wants to do one additional launch, then why not do three or six? Adding one launch simply buys you six months or so of workforce retention but the end result is still the same. If the intent is to shut down the shuttle program, then NASA should do so and move on to a new way of getting into space. If, on the other hand, the White House wants to develop a true shuttle-derived launch vehicle like the sidemount, one that purposefully uses existing shuttle infrastructure and workforce, then that is another issue. Alas, no one has yet given me a reason to do this other than to keep people employed. While it may be a humane thing to do now that Constellation won't be there with a safety net, this is not the way to try and shift paradigms. Rather, it is a way to stall that shift.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 10, 2010 12:31 PM.

A Narrow View of NASA's Broader Vision was the previous entry in this blog.

Developing Senate Legislation on NASA is the next entry in this blog.

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