Brownback on the future of the shuttle

The Orlando Sentinel reported Tuesday that Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), chairman of the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, wants to hold a hearing in the near future regarding whether the shuttle should be phased out earlier than the currently scheduled date of 2010. An earlier retirement of the shuttle, he argues, would save money that could then be used by the exploration initiative, including accelerating development of the Crew Exploration Vehicle. This hearing would take place in the next couple months outside Washington, “in a community where the shuttle is a part of the local economy.” The article is based on a statement issued Monday by Brownback’s office, although that statement is not available on his web site (indeed, there has no press releases added to his site since early March, and it’s difficult to imagine any politician staying quiet that long&#8230)

5 comments to Brownback on the future of the shuttle

  • Harold LaValley

    News release words from Sam Brownback over the last year of hearings and such, on the Space program which has a total impact on our economy exceeds $900 billion, nine percent of the gross national product. It is imperative that America remains at the forefront of space exploration and discovery. It is our job here in Congress to take this report and move forward expeditiously in getting Americans in space safely aboard an American vehicle was a direct quote from last August, 2003. We cannot allow ourselves to give up and turn our backs on exploring space and the universe because we have suffered loss of life. Those are the risks we acknowledge and accept for the opportunity to improve the quality of life here on earth and beyond. Safety is job one even though space travel is an inherently dangerous operation. Sam chaired a hearing for Space, Science and Technology that will examine the International Space Station and the role it plays in building a sustainable vision for NASA and future space exploration. Something Sam shared with Vice President Cheney was his disappointment in the results of not having a sustaining national vision. We must work hard to justify that taxpayer dollars put toward new space vehicles will result in advancing the nation’s space program.
    Here is the senator’s government web link
    Where the excerpt are found in the different news releases.

  • I wonder how much Brownback is being influenced by Worden?

  • $900 billion!?

    Where the hell did that number come from? From the same folks that brought you the $1 trillion figure for the Bush Space Intitiative, no doubt.

    A recent study by the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation concluded that commercial space transportation and enabled industries in the US contributed $95 billion in economic activity in the country in 2002 (check out for more info on this).

  • Dwayne A. Day

    I attended the Senate hearing today where O’Keefe testified on the budget. It was mostly senators asking questions.

    There were several notable exchanges, but this one is relevant:

    Senator Stevens: “If we can fly people in tankers that are 45 years old, we can fly people in shuttles that are 35 years old.”

    Also, Senator Hutchison made clear that she does not agree with the idea of retiring the shuttle earlier. So Hutchison and Stevens seem to disagree with Brownback. Senator Nelson is concerned about the gap between the end of the shuttle and the first manned launch of the CEV.