Efforts to Save Shuttle Program & NASA Continue


Neil Armstrong, the reclusive Neil Armstrong who rarely surfaces in public, is ticked. When Neil Armstrong is ticked, allegedly things get done, or maybe not.  We are getting so much talk and double talk out of this administration their left hand doesn’t even know if it has a right hand!   Then again what does Obama care about up to 100,000 jobs going south?

Do these people even conceptualize the brain drain this is going to cause?

NASA has long suffered from a lack of funding.  Roger Handberg has a great history of the troubles.

“...Even more damning for NASA is the reality that it is remains a government agency, with all the stigma that incurs in American political culture. The private sector is clearly perceived as more compatible with American values. One must remember that efforts to privatize or commercialize the space shuttle date back to Carter Administration, even before the shuttle flew its first mission. The Reagan Administration also had such designs on the shuttle but those floundered on the shuttle’s flight problems even before Challenger in 1986. The shuttle was to be the equivalent to a bus with a regular and relatively fixed schedule. Launch delays and safety concerns made the shuttle a non-starter as a commercial vehicle once the subsidies were withdrawn. Gingrich and Walker also argue the point that the commercial or private sector should be the path forward in their Washington Times op-ed. “Reliance on commercial launch services will provide many other benefits. It will open the doors to more people having the opportunity to go to space. It has the potential of creating thousands of new jobs, largely the kind of high-tech work to which our nation should aspire. In the same way the railroads opened the American West, commercial access can open vast new opportunities in space. All of this new activity will expand the space enterprise, and in doing so, will improve the economic competitiveness of our country.” The difficulty has been that the space shuttle never was capable of becoming the space equivalent of a railroad both in terms of schedule and steadily falling costs….”

Obama’s flunkie at NASA, Lori Garver has put a damper on any hope of a future for this country.  What is wrong with these people?  She also continued the administration’s tradition of not knowing the truth if it it hit ’em in the face.

“…“The first question I asked when I came back to NASA was, ‘Could we extend the shuttle?’” Garver said in response to a question on the subject. “I was told by the entire shuttle NASA folks that, in fact, that time had come and gone. It was not an issue of money at that point, it was an issue of second-tier suppliers, there would be at least a two-year gap between our last flight and the next one, et cetera.” That situation, she said, was a result a previous policies: “We inherited what we inherited.”…”

Now, the truth is a bit different.  Read the comments following the article if you want a run-down on the latest Obama lie.

From Kay Bailey Hutchinson:

“...The bill, dubbed the Human Space Flight Capability Assurance and Enhancement Act, calls for spending an additional $3.4 billion between 2010 and 2012 to keep the space shuttle flying. The NASA budget Obama sent to Congress in February includes $989 million for the space shuttle program in 2011 and $86 million in 2012 — money meant to be used primarily for closing down the 30-year-old program….”

More about her plan:

  • Complete shuttle review within 90 days – there was no time limit before
  • plan for continuing Shuttle at two missions a year until alternative is found
  • Within 60-days of the act publish human spaceflight requirements complete market assessment of commercial crew industry within 120-days..”

From what The Pink Flamingo is hearing from my friends in Texas, one of the reasons Rick Perry won so easily in the primary the other day was because a lot of people want Kay Bailey Hutchison to remain in the Senate where she is quite effective.

The Pink Flamingo wants her to remain in the Senate because she is one of NASA’s most staunch allies.  Today she introduced a stop-gap bill to save the shuttle program and allow the development of new craft to continue.

“...Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison introduced a bill intended to save the shuttle program and NASA’s push to develop its own new spacecraft. President Barack Obama’s budget plan released last month would allow the shuttle program to end this year and kill NASA’s new spacecraft. For now there are only four more shuttle flights scheduled. The next one set for April when Discovery launches. That will leave a year’s long gap when American’s cannot get to space without another nation’s help.  It could also potentially cost thousands of jobs in Houston. The Proposed Human Space Flight Capability Assurance and Enhancement Act would do several things: Most importantly, it would make shuttle retirement dependent on having something to replace it with.  It would also mandate full-scale operation of the International Space Station through at least 2020 and provide for the acceleration of a government-owned human space flight capability as close to 2015 as possible.  It would also authorize top level funding for all NASA mission activities. Hutchison says that it is simply unacceptable for America to be dependent on other nations for travel to space.

There is a companion bill that is being sponsored by two Florida U.S, representatives. That is being introduced next week….”


“…Dear Mr. President:

As members of the Florida congressional delegation, we write to express deep concerns with the Administration’s FY 2011 budget request as it relates to the future of America’s space program.  While the budget request was presented to Members of Congress and staff as a game-changing strategy to move America’s human space program beyond activities in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) serious questions remain regarding its goals, milestones, inherent cost and schedule risks, and severe disruptions to the workforce at our nation’s premier spaceport.

The Administration’s decision to terminate the Constellation program, after $9 billion of taxpayer investments and a successful test flight four months ago of Ares 1-X, and a termination price tag of $2.5 billion, comes perhaps as the biggest surprise, but it is especially worrisome considering no other specific heavy-lift program is proposed in its place.  Coupled with the planned retirement of the Shuttle, this leaves the future of U.S. human spaceflight in serious doubt, and the highly skilled workforce with the prospect of a major upheaval from which it and our space program will not have the hope of recovery for many years.

We remind you that the Constellation program has enjoyed strong, bipartisan Congressional support, as reflected in authorization and appropriations measures. Public comments from Administration and NASA officials allude to future missions to the moon, Mars and elsewhere but fall short of the clarity that has always formed an integral part of direction for our nation’s space program.

The importance of space exploration for the United States is well established but is sometimes taken for granted as we reap the benefits from decades of previous commitments and investments in our space program.  America’s leadership in space has contributed to our national security, generated countless spinoffs and inventions that have contributed significantly to our technological advancement and economic competitiveness, led to the creation of high-skilled jobs, and inspired leaders of tomorrow.  As with all great human achievements, our commitment to space must be renewed and encouraged or we will surely be surpassed by other nations who are presently challenging our leadership in space.  Likewise, space exploration can be crowded out by other budget priorities if the assumption is made that our leadership will continue indefinitely regardless of vision and resources.

Floridians take special pride in hosting the workforce and infrastructure essential for our nation’s human space flight program.  According to NASA’s own numbers from FY 2008, the economic impact of NASA in Florida resulted in over 40,000 jobs, over $2 billion in household income, and hundreds of millions of dollars in federal, state and local taxes.  You can understand that Floridians are especially concerned about the future of America’s space program.

We are concerned that the plan NASA has laid out fails to provide a manageable transition of the workforce and is likely to repeat the mistakes that plagued Florida at the end of the Apollo program.  Those were not only the loss of thousands of jobs and serious adverse economic hardship, but also the disruption and loss of a well-trained and highly-skilled aerospace workforce.  Repeating these past mistakes would be unfortunate to say the least.

Additionally, the FY 2011 Budget Estimates document is very vague concerning plans and missions as they relate to work in Florida and Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in particular.  While the document refers to upgrades at KSC to create a 21st Century Space Launch Complex Program, test flights, and commercial and cargo flights, the future role of the Center as a launching site (or in any capacity) remains unclear, as does the role of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.  The document mentions critical technology demonstrations, heavy-lift and propulsion R&D, robotic precursor missions, some of which may or may not utilize Florida’s infrastructure and workforce.  We are concerned over the lack of details.  Please provide to us as soon as possible an adequately detailed understanding of NASA’s plans for KSC and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Finally, in light of the risks and uncertainties of your plan for the future of U.S. human spaceflight, we are concerned about the loss of the ability of the United States to launch our astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and maximize its functionality due to the rapidly approaching, planned retirement of the Space Shuttle.  Sole reliance on Russia for access to the ISS with no redundancy during the planned gap poses serious risk to our space program. We believe it would be prudent to ensure not only that there is redundancy, but also that the U.S. retains a domestic capability to take our astronauts to the ISS and to deliver hardware that will ensure its utilization through at least 2020.  Given the lack of this capability in the outline presented by your Administration, we would ask that you work with us to guarantee that this capability remains.  We believe that our Nation’s independent access to space should not be terminated unless approved by Congress in the NASA authorization bill and FY 2011 appropriations process.


Senator LeMieux
Senator Nelson
Rep. Posey
Rep. Miller
Rep. Bilirakis
Rep. Young
Rep. Putnam,
Rep. Buchanan,
Rep. Rooney,
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen,
Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart,
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart,
Rep. Mica,
Rep. Stearns,
Rep. Kosmas
Rep. Klein,
Rep. Grayson
Rep. Boyd
Rep. Crenshaw
Rep. Meek,
Rep. Castor,
Rep. Hastings,
Rep. Wasserman-Shultz,
Rep. Brown…”