In an editorial in Sunday’s Florida Today, the paper calls on the new administration to focus on Constellation, not extending the shuttle despite calls for the latter. The editorial notes the recent GAO report that identified the shuttle retirement decision as one of 13 immediate issues facing the Obama Administration. “[F]lying the aging orbiters longer poses major safety risks and would siphon scarce money from the moon plan, which is why we favor pressing ahead on the next-generation vehicles,” the editorial argues.
In an essay for Discovery.com, former House staffer and NASA official Eric Sterner evaluates NASA’s current situation, good and bad, and calls the incoming president “the wild card in the mix” because of the change in position he made regarding Constellation during the campaign. “Does this change represent a true change of heart and the beginning of a commitment to our future in space, or an opportunistic campaign tactic to appeal to voters along Florida’s important space coast? That remains to be seen.”
An NPR article identifies space exploration as one of 13 key issues facing the next president; in its list it lies between telecommunications and labor organizing. NPR notes the gap between the shuttle and Constellation, then asks, “But can we afford space when we can’t afford better schools or health insurance for all?”
In Arizona, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat and member of the House Science and Technology Committee (and wife of NASA astronaut Mark Kelly), handily won re-election in her southern Arizona district over Republican state senator Tim Bee. But there’s a bit of sour grapes from at least one Republican about her victory, the Arizona Daily Star reports:
As an example of why Bee was a stronger candidate, [Arizona Republican Party executive director Sean] McCaffrey said one could “put two columns with numbers 1 through 10 on it” and list the accomplishments of Bee and Giffords.
“You could get through number 10 in Tim Bee’s column just in legislative accomplishments,” Sean McCaffrey said. “In hers you’d have to include marrying a spaceman. But that’s not to say she’s isn’t a wonderful person; she’s just not qualified to be a congresswoman.”