Members of Alabama’s Congressional delegation have spoken out in recent weeks in favor of continuing the current Constellation program, including the Ares 1 launch vehicle; now that message is reaching down to local politics as well. As the Huntsville Times reported Friday, Huntsville, Alabama, mayor Tommy Battle says the city needs to support continued development of the Ares 1:
Speaking to a sellout crowd of 1,300 people at the Von Braun Center’s North Hall, Battle said the Rocket City has to find a way to keep the Marshall Space Flight Center-managed program alive. Last month, the White House’s Augustine Commission recommended that NASA scrap the Ares I and focus instead on the Ares V large cargo rocket.
Battle drew loud applause when he said Huntsville needs to “convince Congress, convince the White House that we have the finest pool of intelligence and technologically advanced people that have ever been on earth in the business of space.
“If you ever let that pool disperse,” he said, “you’ll never get it back.”
Of course, the “Augustine Commission” might be surprised that it recommended that the Ares 1 be scrapped, since the report included no recommendations and did feature options that use the Ares 1. And while some members of the committee might prefer other options, we know that at least one member, Lester Lyles, supports the “program of record” and said he personally wanted to see the development of Ares 1 continued.