In a conversation a few days ago with Florida Today, Florida Republican Senate candidate George LeMieux offered support for a mix of government and commercial space efforts. LeMieux called SpaceX’s efforts in particular “very exciting” and that “you’re going to see these people reach the International Space Station on a regular basis.” However, exploration beyond Earth orbit should be done by NASA, he added. “I want to see some leadership, to say we’re going to a certain place by a certain time. And then we need to go and fund it.” LeMieux, who served in the Senate in 2009 and 2010 to fill out the remainder of Mel Martinez’s term, is seeking the Republican nomination to run against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson this fall.
In Texas, another Republican congressional candidate has his own idea for supporting NASA. Chuck Meyer, a former business executive running in the new 36th district in southeastern Texas that includes portions of the Houston area, is proposing special-purpose savings bonds, or “Space Bonds”, to fund NASA’s human spaceflight program. Meyer is short on details about how this plan would work, something he admits in the release. “When I am on the campaign trail, I find voters aren’t that interested in the fine details of my plans,” he says in the release. “What does excite our citizens is the fact that there is one candidate with a plan to save human space flight before it is too late and with a passion to get the job done. I am that candidate.” Meyer is asking current members of the stat’s congressional delegation, and other members, to support this concept now.
NASA administrator Charles Bolden met earlier this week with the Republican members of Utah’s congressional delegation and assured them that the Space Launch System (SLS) and its Utah-manufactured solid rocket motors were on track for a 2017 test flight. (The state’s sole Democrat in Congress, Rep. Jim Matheson, was unable to attend the meeting, according to the Salt Lake Tribune). In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the Utah members sounded satisfied with the progress the SLS is making. “I always appreciate his willingness to sit down with us to take questions and hear our concerns regarding the future of solid rocket motors,” said Rep. Rob Bishop in the statement.