That’s the hope of a new effort on Florida’s Space Coast that’s launching today. Save Space, an effort led by Brevard County’s board of commissioners, is encouraging Floridians and other Americans to write letters to President Obama in support of the space program. The draft letters on the web site ask the president to:
- add an additional $3 billion a year to NASA’s budget;
- close the shuttle-Constellation gap by extending the shuttle;
- extend the life of the ISS;
- align human spaceflight goals “with key national objectives including clean energy, climate-change, and improved health”; and
- accelerate the development of “a well-designed and adequately funded heavy-lift space technology program” (not explicitly naming Ares 5 or shuttle-derived alternatives).
The site’s launch is tied to the Florida Space and Technology Forum taking place this morning in Cocoa, with Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas as one of the participants. The goal of the Save Space campaign is to have 500,000 letters delivered to the White House by the end of October.
While the site claims that the campaign’s purpose is to “raise the awareness of the nation, the President, and other elected officials: Space needs to be a priority for America”, there’s a more parochial concern as well: saving jobs on the Space Coast and protecting the local economy. “If this shuttle doesn’t get extended, it’s going to be very, very devastating to the community. I started thinking to myself, why isn’t the community screaming about it?” Brevard County Commissioner Robin Fisher told Florida Today. To that end, the web site plans to be a “learning tool” for students in Brevard County public schools; Space Florida will promote the site at a state level. (Interestingly, Florida Today is listed as a partner on the Save Space site, a relationship not mentioned in the article.)