With each passing day, people in both government and industry are becoming increasingly concerned about the prospect of sequestration, the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts that would go into effect at the beginning of calendar year 2013 unless Congress comes up with an alternative deficit reduction strategy (or otherwise overrides those planned cuts.) This has been particular true in the defense industry, where companies have warned of major layoffs should programs be cut by up to 10 percent. Last week, for example, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) warned of “widespread” job losses: in excess of two million overall in the US economy.
Less has been said, though, about specific effects of sequestration on the space industry due to cuts in both military and civil programs. While NASA administrator Charles Bolden has said on multiple occasions he wasn’t worried about sequestration, that optimistic attitude is not widely shared. On Thursday afternoon, the Marshall Institute and the Space Enterprise Council are hosting a panel on the impact of sequestration on the space industrial base on Capitol Hill. The event, according to the announcement, “will consider the impact on the space industrial base and the implications for the short- and long-term health of U.S. space programs and priorities.” Given the panel’s members, the focus may be more on military than civil space activities, though.