Posey still fighting for the shuttle

With five shuttle missions left on the manifest, many people on the Space Coast are gearing up for life after the shuttle. One member of Congress, though, appears set on making one more try to keep the shuttle alive. Florida Today reported Tuesday that Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) “pledged to pursue” authorization for additional shuttle flights. Last year he introduced HR 1962, legislation that would authorize funding for at least two shuttle missions a year until 2015 or an alternative vehicle (Orion or an American commercial capability). The problem is that the bill has made no progress since its introduction last April (it was referred to the House Science and Technology Committee’s space subcommittee, which has taken no action on it), and in the unlikely event it someone how made it through Congress, there would still be the issue of appropriating the necessary funding—not to mention the technical issues of trying to extend the shuttle this late in its life.

A video accompanying the article includes some additional comments made by Posey at a community forum on the Space Coast. He at one point criticized both Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and, oddly, Midwestern farmers for not appreciating the benefits of space:

We take our weather report for granted; all that’s the result of space. People in the Midwest, farmers, say, “what do we care about space?” I mean, we heard the Speaker of the House say yesterday, er, last week, “oh, I’m not that sold on space, I’m not that much of a fan.” Apparently she doesn’t need her weather report, she doesn’t need all the other satellite communications we need.

Pelosi, as you may recall, was critical of human spaceflight in comments last month (not last week), but did not speak about other spaceflight issues like weather or communications satellites.

Posey, though, was not attempting to be partisan: at one point he was critical of former President Bush for creating the current space policy that is resulting in what Posey fears will be a seven-year gap between shuttle and Constellation. “If we continue on the space plan that, quite frankly, was first offered by Bush, we will be paying the Russians to take our astronauts back and forth to the space station,” he said.

Posey was also hopeful that President Obama would change that policy. “When the president was campaigning in Brevard County, he made the pledge that he would see that we stayed first in space and he would close the gap,” he said, comments that created an audible commotion (not quite booing, but close) from the audience. “Well, I’m still hopeful, I’m still hopeful that he’s going to do that.”

6 comments to Posey still fighting for the shuttle

  • […] No extension of the shuttle program (sorry, Congressman Posey) […]

  • CharlesTheSpaceGuy

    The only way to extend the Shuttle right now is to space them out. We are shortly gonna run out of parts.

  • Anon2

    Yes, we are getting rid of the shuttle and bringing a Saturn V size expendable launcher in its place. Then after we get tired of launching Saturn V type vehicles and playing “Apollo” we will cry for a new shuttle to replace the old shuttle we stupidly threw away in the passion of mourning Columbia. And people wonder why there is no progress in space…

    Stick to one system and evolve it into new generations. Don’t throw everything out and reboot with each new launch vehicle. We now know the shuttle’s weakness (heat shield, SRB). Now we need to build a new shuttle that fixes them (TSTO, new technology heat shield) instead of going off in a radical new direction.

    I don’t think Posey really expects to win, but instead looks for history to remember him for trying keep space access from going backwards in time. In 5 years when everyone will be recalling the “good old days” of having a shuttle he will be able to say “I told you so”.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Why the hell should we be picking the launcher at all?

  • […] House legislation to extend the space shuttle program beyond its planned retirement this year may be joined by more a comprehensive Senate bill in the near future. At the symposium “Human Spaceflight and the Future of Space Science”, held yesterday in Washington by USRA and GWU’s Space Policy Institute, Jeff Bingham of the Senate Commerce Committee held up a working draft of a proposed bill titled the “Human Spaceflight Capability Assurance and Enhancement Act”. Because the bill hasn’t been introduced yet, he could not reveal its exact contents, but did say he what believed “should” be in the bill. […]

  • vulture4

    Posey never “fought for the shuttle” when Bush announced cancellation of both Shuttle and ISS in 2010. Now, Posey finally realizes that Bush’s plan will cost thousands of jobs in his district. Posey has always hated Obama, whom he claims is not even an American. So who better to blame for the end of Shuttle, now that its too late? Posey claims government is incompetent and evil, and demands still more tax cuts, but wants billions more in taxpayer dollars– for his district.

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