Protecting local turf, part 2

An AP article Monday discusses the influence two members of Congress from Alabama, Sen. Richard Shelby (R) and Rep. Bud Cramer (D), have on the NASA budget process. Shelby chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Commerce, Justice, and Science subcommittee, which oversees NASA, while Cramer serves on respective subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

Most of the article is how the two plan to use their influence to support NASA Marshall. The article notes that Cramer in particular “is prepared to take drastic actions if NASA’s leaders aren’t more forthcoming to the delegation”; Cramer also told the AP that he had a “difficult and not a very satisfying conversation” with Craig Steidle, NASA associate administrator for exploration systems, although the subject of that conversation wasn’t mentioned. Shelby and Cramer are apparently concerned about what Michael Griffin has planned for NASA, since many of “the assurances Cramer and Shelby had received about Marshall’s role had come from O’Keefe.”

The most curious passage of the article, though, might be this:

President Bush wants NASA to focus on sending astronauts to the moon and Mars. However, the agency has been mum on what kind of role Marshall would have in that program and whether it would come at the expense of other programs being done in Huntsville, including plans for an orbital space plane to transport astronauts to the space station.

Um, I hate to break it to Mr. McMurray, the AP reporter, but the Orbital Space Plane program was shut down last year, succeeded by the Crew Exploration Vehicle, which is certainly part of the Vision (although whether it will perform missions to ISS appears to still be uncertain.)

1 comment to Protecting local turf, part 2