The Brevard County Commissioners and several of Florida's congressional representatives recently met to discuss the end of the Shuttle program and the impact NASA's uncertain future may have on the Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center area. That future could be ugly for Florida's economy, and non-existent for the U.S. manned space program.
On April 28, the Space Committee of the Brevard County Commissioners hosted a discussion concerning the economic impact due to an expected loss of 6,400 NASA jobs coupled with an uncertain future that accompanies a change in presidential administrations.
Among the three presidential candidates, Senator Barack Obama has been most forthcoming on his plans for the agency. He would postpone the Constellation program for five years while diverting funds to his national education plan.
Senator Bill Nelson (D. FL) noted that, in two years, the U.S. will have no access to the International Space Station (ISS) in which the nation has invested $100,000,000,000. The U.S. will soon be paying high fees to Russia to have U.S. astronauts transported to the ISS by their Soyuz space craft.
Florida Congressman Tom Feeney (R. 24th Dis.) reported that his recent attendance at a Space Summit in China convinced him that the Chinese are working to become a leader in space.
Florida Congressman Dave Weldon (R. 15th Dis.) estimated that NASA job losses could have a $1 billion negative impact on the Florida economy.
Some of us remember the day the news of the USSR's Sputnik launch reverberated across the nation, eventually motivating President Kennedy to announce the goal of putting U.S. astronauts on the Moon. Now we're preparing to buy rides on the Russian space taxi and watch the People's Republic of China eventually reign in space.
Where did our Right Stuff go?