While NASA is working to hand over many of the facilities it no longer needs at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) after the retirement of the Space Shuttle two years ago, one member of Congress wants to know if NASA should be divesting those assets even faster. The Orlando Sentinel reported late Wednesday that Rep. John Mica (R-FL) plans to hold a hearing early next year on what else NASA can do to rid itself of facilities it no longer needs. “We have evolved the space program, but we haven’t evolved the property and assets,” Mica told the Sentinel.
NASA is working to find new users for shuttle-related infrastructure at KSC that it no longer needs. Two years ago, NASA and Space Florida signed a deal with Boeing to give the company access to one of the three Orbiter Processing Facilities, which Boeing plans to use to assemble CST-100 commercial crew spacecraft, should the company continue in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. In late June, NASA announced it was entering negotiations with Space Florida to turn over maintenance and operations of the Shuttle Landing Facility to the state agency. And, most controversially, NASA is looking to lease Launch Complex 39A to a commercial entity, attracting the attention of both Blue Origin and SpaceX, with the two companies and their supporters sparring in the media and even in a Congressional hearing.
Mica chairs the Government Operations subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, giving him, he believes, the ability to study an agency that normally falls under the jurisdiction of the House Science Committee. It’s unclear if the hearing will focus only on KSC or include other NASA centers that may have excess infrastructure, although the Sentinel article reports Mica is considering holding the hearing not in Washington but on the Space Coast in February—a good time to get away from wintry Washington, at least.