The quest for space, both by NASA and private enterprise is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the future of humanity. Barack Obama, who plans to cut NASA back to nothing and basically eliminate manned exploration of space. This said, and in an effort to be fair, I am extremely disappointed with the NASA budget the White House delivered. I blame the far from satisfactory budgetary increases on conservatives who insist on cutting back on just about everything but their precious little pet projects.
Of all the government programs we dump money into, NASA is by far the most successful in a transfer of technology and a virtual exponential dollar increase back into the ‘real’ world. For every federal dollar that goes into NASA, another 15 to 20 are generated back into the economy. We need those tech jobs. We need to keep our engineers, our techs, our sciences sharp or we will fall further behind.
Even if you do not approve of NASA and government programs, consider the technology transfer that comes out of our space program. To put it simply, the only reason my mother is alive is because of cardiac and ICU technology developed by NASA over the years. My mother literally owes her life to NASA and the federal dollars spent on science, technology, and space exploration.
If you still think NASA should be the object of major budget cuts consider your cell phone. Do you have Onstar? Do you do satellite radio? Do you have satellite TV? Do you have a laptop? Do you have an Ipod, a Blackberry, or Palm? If it weren’t for NASA and federal dollars going into the space program we would be living back in Leave It to Beaver land.
Rhymes with Right has news that there are going to be some serious cut-backs at NASA over the next few years. This sort of thing always happens when Democrats control the purse strings. Are we simply dealing with the natural death of a shuttle program designed to end years ago or is something more nefarious afoot? Johnson will lose about 2300 people, but KSC could lose nearly three times that number. Evidently Bill Nelson is working to help save some of the KSC jobs. There is not enough money coming in to accomplish all the ambitious things we need to do. There is more from Popular Science. Chair Force Engineer also has a different take on things. Evidently many of the jobs lost will come through retirement.
Funny how we always come back to John McCain, who is a strong supporter of the exploration of space – another reason to make sure we get him elected.
The big problem, as usual, is NASA survives at the whim of a bunch of yahoos who would rather put their money into welfare programs. The cuts are only going to get worse. The only way I see government sponsored space exploration surviving is through the constant election of Republicans. Democrats are more interested in handouts.
Truly the only real hope is privatization.
OBAMA WOULD BE A DISASTER
Evidently Bambi has threatened to basically kill the entire space program.
“…Also, one needs to note that if Senator Obama becomes President Obama, he has promised to essentially cancel Constellation and not provide funding to get Orion operational sooner than 2015 that most experts say it will likely fly. This will have the effect of keeping KSC’s force small and will therefore prolong the economic downturn that will accompany the drastic job cuts coming to the Titusville-Cocoa Beach area….”
It’s time that voters, especially those in areas like the Space coast of Florida, Houston, etc. recognize that their vote for a candidate will have downstream effects on our nation’s space program. If they strongly support the nation’s manned program, they need to vote accordingly for the candidate that also supports the manned space program. Obama wants to either curtail the manned program after Orion is developed. His plan is that the Shuttle will be retired and Orion will replace its role of circling us endlessly around Earth, just as we’ve done since Gargarin and Glenn. Now that’s change!
Clinton is a better candidate for the space program and the only Democrat that, for the first time, really supports our nation’s manned program effort to return to the Moon. Let’s hope Democratic voters in Ohio and Texas take note….”
Not only would Barack Obama basically destroy our future in space, but he would pander and give Al Gore a major cabinet roll on Global Warming, thereby killing our economic future. I did not start out to write a rant and rave about Barack Obama. I was hoping we could leave the little twit alone for a day, but evidently that is impossible. It is rather obvious Obama is not interested in the economic or strategic health of this nation, but would rather pursue a massively Marxist, basically un-American agenda that is more akin to Hugo Chavez than an American patriot.
LAST MINUTE HELP?
Dave Weldon has introduced legislation to keep the shuttle program alive post it’s death date. I hate to agree, because the shuttle, though a remarkable machine, is an antiquated machine. We need something much different. Unfortunately not to have a viable way to launch for a couple of years in between programs is STUPID. We are a space-faring society now. I know there are libertarians, liberals, and a few morons who don’t agree, but that is our future. Space exploration is our only hope to survive as a civilization.
Rep. Tom Feeney also expressed his concerns about the situation, but while Feeney is a cosponsor of HR 4837, he focused more on other solutions. “After the Shuttle retires, KSC will host important engineering and assembly work supporting lunar exploration. So expanding human spaceflight to the Moon is critical to stabilizing the Kennedy Space Center’s workforce,” he said, adding that “We should devote the resources necessary to rapidly bring the Constellation program online after the Shuttle’s retirement so KSC isn’t as severely impacted as forecast in today’s report.” Feeney did fire a shot in the direction of the presidential candidates: “Any Presidential candidate intent on killing lunar exploration is condemning Florida’s Space Coast to the scenario found in NASA’s initial forecasts.”…”
The losses at the space agency’s Clear Lake complex could amount to as few as 400 jobs through 2011 if work quickly picks up on the Constellation program, the initiative to build a successor to the shuttle for missions to the moon and Mars. That would depend on an increase in congressional funding and support by the next president.
As the date for the shuttle’s retirement nears, the space agency will continually revise the projected job losses. “This is a snapshot in time … clearly a work in progress,” said NASA spaceflight chief Bill Gerstenmaier. “We need to be careful we don’t overreact to these numbers and send an unintended message to our work force that there will be these huge drops, because we honestly don’t know,” Gerstenmaier said. “There are a lot of variables that need to be worked out.”
Currently, Johnson Space Center employs about 16,800 workers, including those involved in the development of the next-generation spacecraft and management of space station and shuttle operations….NASA had once planned to ground the shuttle Atlantis after a mission to overhaul the Hubble Space Telescope later this year, but officials now are weighing whether to assign the ship additional missions to finish assembling the international space station by the mandatory retirement date.
The space agency plans to begin launches of the Orion moon capsule and Ares I rocket by March 2015 on missions carrying up to six astronauts to the space station. Work on the Orion and Ares I is led by Johnson and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.
Johnson would get Altair
In order to return to the moon with astronauts, NASA intends to award contracts for the Ares V, a larger rocket with a powerful upper stage, and the Altair lander.
Marshall would lead development of the Ares V and upper stage, while Johnson would supervise the Altair work.
NASA would like to select contractors for those projects in 2011.
“Our biggest threat is not showing the work force that we have a stable future, ” said Rick Girbrech, a senior NASA official who joined Gerstenmaier for a news conference.
In Congress, some lawmakers are battling what they call “the gap,” the five-year period between the shuttle’s retirement and the inaugural flight of the moonship.
Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Stafford, whose district includes Johnson Space Center, expressed hope that a drive to give the space agency an additional $2 billion could be restarted in Congress.
“If there is a way to shorten the gap and put more money into NASA, then we should address the jobs issue,” Lampson said Tuesday. “Raising this issue to a high priority will not be easy.”
The jobs issue has also been under scrutiny by the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership. “It would not be fair to say there will not be a drop-off, but I don’t think anyone can say it will be a major drop-off,” said Bob Mitchell, the partnership’s president
He predicted that commercial space companies would create jobs as NASA turns its attention to the development of a moon base.
The biggest threat to Johnson’s employment, Mitchell said, would be attempts by other NASA installations to wrestle away work that has traditionally been managed in Houston….”
NASA acknowledged job losses could fluctuate depending on who’s occupying the White House next year and their support for space exploration.
The bleakest forecast was issued for the flagship Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., where just 1,600 to 2,300 employees were expected to remain in 2011, a cut of up to 80 percent from its current 8,000 workers. The Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans was forecast to lose as many as 1,300 of its 1,900 jobs.
“Our greatest challenge over the next several years will be managing this extremely talented, experienced and geographically dispersed workforce as we transition from operating the space shuttle to utilizing the International Space Station,” the report said.
Nationally, NASA said the number of full-time civil servants in its manned space program would fall to about 4,100 in 2011, a loss of about 600 jobs from this year. Including outside contractors, the number of jobs would fall to an estimated 12,500 to 13,800. About 21,000 are currently employed.
NASA said it could be more than a year before it has more dependable job forecasts.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said the state was committed to trying to blunt the impact of the job losses with an aggressive effort to lure new contractors to the area that would work with future NASA flights, as well as private launches. In all, he said the state was trying to attract more than 50 space-related firms to the state.
“This rapid shift is opening doors for new companies and technologies that are blurring the previous separations between aviation and spaceflight,” Crist said. Tracy Yates, a spokeswoman for United Space Alliance, the largest space shuttle contractor, said the new report came as no surprise. “It’s no secret here that we will be a smaller company once the shuttle missions have been completed,” she said….”