In a hotly-contested Republican primary for the 24th Congressional District in Florida, state representative Sandy Adams declared victory late last night, just 560 votes ahead of the second-place finisher. Adams will face Suzanne Kosmas, who easily won the Democratic primary in her bid for reelection to the district that includes NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. In a statement provided to Florida Today earlier this month, Adams expressed general support for the agency, calling the space program “both an economic and homeland security issue” but offering few specifics other than an apparent rejection of the administration’s human space exploration plans (“It is not reasonable to believe we will maintain our leadership, brain trust, equipment and expertise until 2025, when this administration decides to return to manned space flight.” Evidently sending crews to and from the ISS doesn’t count as “manned space flight”.) In a statement on her web site, though, she said she would work to keep the shuttle program “solvent” until a replacement is ready and “be a strong, vocal advocate for the increased Research & Development funding” needed for the “next generation of ‘miracle’ products” spun off from NASA technology development.
While Adams is quiet on the issue of commercial spaceflight, Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican now running for governor of Kansas, is not. Speaking in Wichita yesterday, Brownback in effect put out the welcome mat for space companies that might be thinking of establishing operations there. “We will pursue partnering opportunities with our existing companies and private space companies on the design and manufacture of commercial space vehicles, as well as encourage them to locate some of their facilities here,” he said, the AP reported. Brownback also introduced Alan Weston of NASA’s Ames Research Center, who spoke at the Wichita Aero Club and had a similar message of support for commercial space. “We at Ames, and many people at NASA, believe that commercial space can cut these [spaceflight] costs dramatically,” he said, as reported by the Wichita Business Journal. “I believe, and Pete Worden (director of NASA Ames) believes, that the industry here — the aviation industry — can lead this revolution.”