To follow up on Sen. Mel Martinez’s visit to KSC, Florida Today reports today that the senator will work to “minimize” the gap between the shuttle and Orion. It’s a little unclear at first whether this means he’ll try to shorten the existing period between the two programs (currently projected to run from late 2010 to early 2015) or just try to keep it from getting any longer; his comments as quoted in the article suggest the latter. “[W]hat we need to do is make sure that we continue to be there and fight for the program… to ensure that the worst-case scenario doesn’t happen. We don’t want to get there.” That sounds more like playing defense than offense.
Sen. Martinez added that he’ll work with other members of Congress to build “coalitions with other states” that have a stake in NASA’s exploration program to help secure funding. “We’re returning to the Moon. America doesn’t quite know that that’s happening, and we need to make sure the story gets out,” he said. “That’s my job — to get the story out of NASA and to make sure that the members of Congress are informed and interested in what it can do for our country to continue a viable space program.”