Shuttle News: October 2011 Archives

Keith's note: President Obama will host the crew of STS-135 on Tuesday at 12:20 pm EDT in the Oval Office.

Keith's Note: It seems that the folks from Ohio managed to get the 5,000 signatures needed to get the White House to respond to their petition to have Space Shuttle Enterprise moved to Ohio instead of New York. The rules for this petition system have changed effective 3 October so you now need 15,000 signatures before the White House will respond. All the White House promises to do is respond when a petition reaches a certain threshold. But it does get their attention.

So, Seattle and Houston (and other contenders) why not try this route yourself? Imagine if every visitor to the Museum of Flight or Space Center Houston were given a card with a website address or a QR code that takes them to a similar petition asking that Enterprise be sent to their location. Local papers could also donate free advertising. At some point, e.g. naming things in space after Stephen Colbert, it is possible that some rethinking might be applied to where Enterprise shows up.

Here's how you set up a petition at

Indeed, why shouldn't other locations who did not apply before give it a try? New York won and yet it doesn't even own the property upon which it wants to exhibit Enterprise.

Dayton City Paper Donates Full Page Ad to Space Shuttle Enterprise Petition Effort

"The quest to land retired Space Shuttle Enterprise at the National Museum of the United States Air Force received a major boost when Paul Noah, the publisher of the Dayton City Paper, donated a full page ad supporting the White House petition effort in the Oct. 18th LWV voters guide issue.

The petition launched two weeks ago, has picked up approximately 3,500 4,100+ supporters. According to the White House petition policy: "To cross the first threshold and be searchable within, a petition must reach 150 signatures within 30 days. To cross the second threshold and require a response, a petition must reach 25,000 signatures within 30 days."

View the petition at "We The People" at"

Keith's update: Apparently the earlier rules prior to 3 October 2011 required only 5,000 signatures for the White House to respond (this petition was submitted prior to that date). Alas, the main organizer of this activity is sending out emails saying "If this petition gets 5,000 signatures by October 30th (it already has 3,743), the Obama administration will reconsider the decision." I see nothing anywhere that even hints that the White House will "reconsider" this decision as to where Space Shuttles will go. Their "response" may well just say "thanks for your concern, we appreciate your interest, etc. but we have already made up our mind. Have a nice day.". If signing a petition on this White House website is going to force the White House to actually "reconsider" its decisions then their webservers will most certainly melt under the pressure from people wanting to change everything.

Ohio Senator Asks NASA to Wrest Shuttle From Intrepid Museum, NY Times

"This report makes it evident that New York City was, and still is, woefully unprepared to house the Enterprise space shuttle. This also raises further questions about the thoroughness of NASA's selection process -- and I urge NASA to revisit its decision to send the Enterprise to New York."

After Winning Coveted Shuttle, Museum Changes the Plan for It, NY Times

"The tentative state of the plan highlights how much less certain the Intrepid's proposal was than those of some other museums that lobbied for one of the shuttles. The Museum of Flight in Seattle, for example, spent $11 million to build a structure that would house a shuttle, but did not get one."

Texas lawmakers press NASA for a "real" space shuttle for display in Houston, Houston Chronicle

"American taxpayers "deserve to know" whether the Intrepid Museum will fulfill promises to NASA "before any further action is taken with respect to locating Enterprise at the Intrepid," the lawmakers said. Olson launched his effort just days after Space Center Houston privately arranged to obtain an exhibition model of the shuttle known as Explorer from the Kennedy Space Center visitors' center."

NASA Money Sponge Update

Editorial: Identify JWST's Bill Payers, editorial, Space News

"... the Space Launch System, which per the House and Senate spending bills is slated to receive nearly $2 billion next year, is an appropriate bill payer for JWST. Given that NASA has no established exploration destination requiring the heavy-lift rocket on the schedule mandated by Congress, stretching out its development to help fund an observatory of undeniable scientific merit -- its substantial problems notwithstanding -- is a fair trade."

JWST and SLS: Dueling Giant Money Sponges, earlier post

"So, we have one giant money sponge (JWST) already sucking up dollars with yet another money sponge (SLS) on the drawing board. Since the money simply is not there to do either project to begin with, trying to do both of them together will devour funds from smaller NASA programs. It will also pit these money sponges' ever-growing chronic need for dollars against the other's similar insatiable appetite. And all of this will happen while the Federal budget is almost certainly going to be constrained - regardless of who wins the 2012 election. So, will someone explain to me how NASA is going to build and launch both JWST and SLS and have money left over to do all of the other things that it is both chartered to do - and directed to do - by Congress?"

Kennedy: Florida snipes at Virginia's launch market competition, Richmond Times DIspatch

"Virginia would never use an environmental study to seek to undermine the recently announced $38 billion American taxpayer-funded civil space rocket booster to launch from Florida's coast. The Space Florida effort is an abuse of federal environmental law process. Worse still, by seeking to deprive Virginia of space business investment and jobs, Space Florida makes clear its desire to establish a monopolistic space launch practice, thereby increasing costs. America needs business competition -- now more than ever. ... It is wrong for Space Florida to gain billions of dollars in federal civil space contracts while begrudging Virginia's right to secure commercial space launch jobs for the Eastern Shore facilities. It is wrong for Florida to seek hundreds of millions of dollars to enhance its space launch facilities while seeking to deny Virginia any small measure of opportunity."

Letter From Space Florida To NASA Regarding WFF Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

"Enhancing the capabilities of WFF to allow NASA greater collaboration with other federal agencies is commendable and is to be encouraged. However, the potential development by NASA of not only duplicative, but also competing, launch infrastructure for orbital human spaceflight, funded in part by our tax dollars, gives the State of Florida standing in this federal process."

Letter From Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast To NASA Regarding WFF Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

"The most pressing issue for the Florida workforce is the sense of betrayal that their tax dollars might be used in establishing a competing orbital human spaceflight launch capability in another state when they have so well and ably done the job here in Florida. It is recognized that commercial human spaceflight launch capabilities will arise throughout the country and elsewhere over time, but it makes no sense for NASA to be making such an investment."

Keith's note: It is blatantly obvious that Florida's space community is hijacking the intent of an Environmental Impact Statement to inject local and national politics and complaints that have nothing to do with environmental impact. Do these Florida-based organizations issue press releases about these letters? No. Do they post them on their own websites? No. Why? Becuase they know that this is a sneaky, somewhat slimy way to do things.

- NASA Assessing Environmental Impacts for Wallops Flight Facility's Potential Future Operations

- Site-wide Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for expanding operations at Wallops's Flight Facility (WFF)

Former Florida shuttle workers still struggling to find jobs, Orlando Sentinel via Washington Post

"NASA officials predict the KSC workforce will number roughly 8,200 next year -- about half the 15,000 employed there in 2008. A few hundred contractors are giving the shuttles last rites before they, too, join their former colleagues in a brutal job market."

Kennedy Space Center to build new $300M HQ, Orlando Business Journal

"The project will "provide job potential through the design, engineering and construction to transition KSC from shuttles to new government and commercial vehicles," said Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast. "This complex keeps talent local and enhances our overall competitiveness on the global economic development stage."

NASA Solicitation: Kennedy Space Center Space Processing and Manufacturing Capability

"NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is looking to preserve an inventory of processing and manufacturing equipment for current and future mission support. This Request for Information (RFI) describes this equipment, currently underutilized as a result of the transition from the Space Shuttle Program to the future mission activities authorized by Congress. NASA KSC is seeking to identify potential industry interest in the operation and/or maintenance of this NASA property."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Shuttle News category from October 2011.

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