While members of the Texas Congressional delegation are gearing up to defend NASA against budget threats, real or perceived, supporters of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia are planning similar action. The Daily Press newspaper reports that the president of Hampton University is planning a luncheon to “get the community’s leadership re-engaged in the process to head off any potential budget cuts”.
Anna McNider, a “volunteer lobbyist” with a organization called the NASA Aeronautics Support Team, is concerned: “The state of NASA today is as bad as it’s been in the last 10 to 15 years.” However, she appears to be looking a little too far ahead:
McNider said that with NASA’s involvement with the International Space Station concluded, and no currently operating space shuttle, the center’s available workload is going to continue to decline.
Last I checked, NASA was still involved in the ISS and the space shuttle still had 9-10 more missions to fly. In any case, she said, “The push has been the need to take care of things at home – atmospheric science (climate change research) and aeronautics.” Langley, of course, is a major aeronautics center and nearby Hampton University has a center devoted to atmospheric sciences.
One other note: while McNider might be a “volunteer lobbyist”, the NASA Aeronautics Support Team does have some professional support: the organization has spent $110,000 to date this year on lobbyists Van Scoyoc Associates, and in the past several years has paid the firm as much as $240,000 a year.