Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Kosmas: Eliminate "Arbitrary" Shuttle Deadline

U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, whose district includes Kennedy Space Center, is backing the effort to eliminate an "arbitrary" 2010 deadline for NASA to retire the space shuttle.

The cost: an extra $2.5 billion in fiscal year 2011.

In a letter sent to congressional budget leaders today, the New Smyrna Democrat supported a provision pushed by Florida Sen. Bill Nelson that would give NASA the money needed to fly out nine remaining shuttle flights with a more flexible schedule that allowed missions to slip into 2011.

The next flight is targeted to launch May 12 to the Hubble Space Telescope. The rest would be to the International Space Station.

The Senate's budget proposal includes the extra funding, but the House's budget does not. The two budgets must be reconciled in conference committees.

Kosmas and Nelson argue that the deadline to retire shuttles by the end of 2010 creates schedule pressure that could endanger astronauts' safety, risks leaving the space station unfinished if flights can't be completed on time and ensures at least a five-year gap in U.S. human spaceflight.

NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel last week recommended retiring the shuttle as planned for safety reasons and to focus resources on development of the shuttle's replacement, the Constellation program.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very good idea.