At yesterday’s meeting on the Space Coast, speakers said Florida must demand that president fund an “ambitious” space exploration program, in large part to protect jobs there. Or, as Florida Today put it, “President Barack Obama is in for an earful from Florida elected officials and space industry leaders”. The event referenced the Save Space letter-writing effort launched yesterday (as discussed here) as well as then-candidate Obama’s August 2008 speech where he said he would “close the gap” between the shuttle and its successor.
Florida Today is one of the sponsors of Save Space, so it’s no surprise it endorses the effort in an editorial Tuesday, asking readers to write letters to the president asking him to keep that campaign promise.
Increased funding for NASA was also endorsed in a recent editorial by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It notes the expense of Constellation, but adds that despite concerns about “today’s depressed economy and growing federal debt”, NASA should get that additional funding, particularly to develop Ares and Orion, which it calls “necessities”.
Also worth noting is op-ed in Sunday’s Washington Times by Michael Bloomfield, a former astronaut and current vice president of ATK. He argues that “crew safety is of utmost importance in evaluating shuttle replacements” based on the lessons of Challenger and Columbia, and that Ares 1/Orion would be “tops for safety against any other option by a significant degree”. Regarding commercial alternatives, he claims that “they still lag behind Ares I safety by a factor of 3 to 5 and do not meet the Columbia investigation’s clear assertion that America should replace the shuttle with a vehicle that is ‘significantly safer.’”