Campaign '12, Congress

Glenn loses another Congressional advocate

NASA’s Glenn Research Center is already losing a strong supporter in Congress with the departure of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who lost the Democratic primary for his redrawn district against another incumbent, Rep. Marcy Kaptur. Now it appears the center will lose another advocate: according to multiple reports, including the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Rep. Steven Latourette (R-OH) is expected to announce today that he will retire at the end of his term, ending what was expected to be a relatively easy reelection bid. His decision to retire “is related to displeasure with his role in Congress,” the Plain Dealer reported.

LaTourette, while not active in general on space issues, has spoken out when it has affected NASA’s Glenn Research Center, near his district, or elsewhere in the state. He opposed the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, along with a large number of other members of the Ohio delegation, concerned that it could lead to job cuts at Glenn. He sought a GAO review of NASA’s shuttle site selection process in 2011 after the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton failed in its bid to secure a shuttle orbiter. He also criticized some of his Alabama colleagues in 2010, including Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), for allegedly diverting funding from Glenn to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. “The biggest pigs were the guys down in Alabama,” he said at the time. “They were always trying to take stuff away from NASA Glenn, and it was because of Sen. [Richard] Shelby.”

8 comments to Glenn loses another Congressional advocate

  • amightywind

    One of the NASA Centers needs to go. More importantly, NASA needs some serious reform and a RIF. Glenn or Ames seem like good candidates for closure to me.

  • I take that back..actually, Glenn and Ames do some great research, like in aeronautics. A heavily used and influential icing research tunnel exists at Glenn, along with hundreds of unique test rigs. Glenn researchers are leading experts in cryogenics and space propulsion.

  • Aw, one piggie is unhappy because a bigger piggie bumped him from the trough. Welcome to natural selection.

    Just once, I’d love to hear one of these porkers say, “What’s best for the national interest is more important than bringing pork to my district.”

  • BeanCounterfromDownunder

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ July 31st, 2012 at 7:38 pm
    Well yes, but I guess piggies fly as well :)

  • I have to chuckle at amightywind. Although he or she corrects him or herself the post shows that this person is so out of touch with the direction that NASA and our space program needs to go.

    I can easily make the argument that the best center for our dollar is NASA Ames. And to be fair, it really isn’t even close. I know all the centers do a lot of amazing things and trying to pick one over the other is like trying to decide which child you love the most. So I will say this:

    No one innovates like NASA Ames. They continue to push the boundaries, and maybe some buttons, of what NASA should do. Some simply do not like this. Other space analysts have not simply taken the time to visit Ames because of its location.

    I would invite my former Senator Coburn to take a visit (I lived in Oklahoma for some time) and see all the awesome things Ames does. I would not tell anyone one which base to RIF, but I will say that Ames is the first center we need to keep.

    Andrew Gasser
    TEA Party in Space

  • vulture4

    It isn’t really a question of one center being unproductive. Any of them could do good work. The problem is that they don’t work as a team, and often they have management that does not understand where the value lies. Ames, for instance, had an extensive program in aeronautics (as did Langley) but both have slipped considerably in recent years. Glenn had a very good program in ISS payloads but again NASA seems to have forgotten it. Marshall has become dominated by SLS, which is a dead end. Closing a center won’t do any good; the problem is at the program level – and in some cases in the selection of center directors.

  • I'll never tell

    A bit of space history you may not know. Back in 1993 a decision was made to close MSFC. All the political things had been done to make it happen. It was stopped because NASA could not afford to cancel/move the existing contracts in place @ that time. SO yes it can be done and will be done in the next 2-3 years. Pick a field center with a redundant mission, old facilities and few major contracts in place (add in what can be transferred within reason) and you can guess who will go 1st.

    Yes, NASA does need a RIF.

  • vulture4

    Interesting. Any of several centers could be closed. If SLS was cancelled MSFC could be closed. But SLS will probably burn another ten billion before it dawns on Congress that they cannot afford to actually use it.

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