NASA, States, White House

Shuttle, spending, and state cuts

I’ve been on travel the last couple of days so I my time has been limited. I did want to point out a few recent articles of note:

  • Several local officials from Florida’s Space Coast met with President-elect Obama’s NASA transition team last week in Washington, in particular to discuss shuttle retirement and the effect the shuttle-Constellation gap will have on the region’s economy. “They advised us that the shuttle retirement was going to be their No. 1 priority,” Brevard County Commissioner Mary Bolin told Florida Today. What that means—such as whether they are considering any kind of substantial extension of the shuttle beyond 2010—isn’t mentioned, although Bolin and others quoted in the article appeared to be heartened by the discussion.
  • An Orlando Sentinel article provides an overview of the cost overrun issues NASA’s programs face, from major programs like the ISS to lesser-known projects, like the science mission Glory. The article notes that over half of the 74 questions posed by the Obama transition team to NASA released to date have focused on overruns and other spending issues.
  • Another Sentinel article notes that the state of Florida is looking at budget cuts to close its budget deficit, including redirecting unspent funds on construction projects “ranging from dollars dedicated to alternative-energy projects to repairs on emergency-management facilities and space-industry projects.” As FLORIDA SPACErePORT notes, Space Florida received $14.5 million in such funding to begin work on converting Launch Complex 36 into a commercial launch site.

2 comments to Shuttle, spending, and state cuts

  • Does that mean that retiring the Shuttle is going to be their top priority, or that dealing with the issue is going to be their top priority? I can’t imagine they’d be thrilled if it were the former.

  • The $14.5M for LC-36 was originally an inducement for Orbital Sciences to base their Taurus-2 operations at the Cape. They instead selected Wallops Island.

    Space Florida is in discussions with other potential users, including PlanetSpace. But if PlanetSpace loses its bid for a NASA contract, that might leave Florida without a well-financed customer. Given Florida’s limited success with build-it-and-they-will-come spaceport infrastructure, the $14.5M might be an attractive take-back target for the state legislature.

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