Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Nelson: Obama Supports Shuttle Flexibility

President Obama will not force NASA to ground the space shuttle fleet before all eight or nine remaining missions are flown, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said today.

"White House tells me the president will fly all nine remaining shuttle missions - even if it means flying the shuttle an extra year," the Florida senator said via Twitter.

In briefings with the White House yesterday and today, Nelson was assured that missions could slip into 2011 if they can't be completed on schedule by late 2010, according to his office.

That is the president's first promise that the shuttle will not face a hard 2010 deadline, which Nelson and other Space Coast representatives have argued could hurt mission safety by creating intense schedule pressure - a contributing factor in the Challenger and Columbia disasters.

However, Nelson was told the president expects the missions to be flown on time.

A fiscal year 2010 budget recently passed by Congress included an additional $2.5 billion in 2011 to provide NASA more flexibility for flying out the shuttle. That funding is not guaranteed to come through next year, but the president's backing would presumably help the cause.

NASA on Thursday is scheduled to release its five-year budget plan.

Sources familiar with the budget, but not authorize to speak publicly about it, say Obama will call for a comprehensive review of the moon program intended to replace the shuttle, which may not be ready by 2015.

Any extension of shuttle flights beyond 2010, if necessary, could prolong thousands of jobs at Kennedy Space Center that are expected to be eliminated after the shuttle's retirement.

Eight more shuttle missions are currently planned, including the last one to service the Hubble Space Telescope, which is scheduled to blast off from KSC at 2:01 p.m. Monday. The rest would complete assembly of the International Space Station.

Obama has supported adding a ninth mission to deliver the already built Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer physics experiment to the station, but funding hasn't yet been approved.

IMAGE NOTE: On March 15, 2009, space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member STS-119 crew head toward Earth orbit and a scheduled link-up with the International Space Station. Liftoff was on time at 7:43 p.m. EDT from launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center.


Anonymous said...

I guess all of you fools that voted for Republicans all this time didn't get enough Reaganomic Trickle-Down and the Gravy Train is over. You milked it till it was dry.

So now you want Obama to fund the NASA which has turned into nothing but a Glorified Welfare Program since Reagan turned it into a weapons system.

Republican Philosophy is that you can make a lot more money for the Defense Contractors building weapons that kill people and continue a cycle of war than it is to develop Manned Space Flight.

So there you have it, vote for Republicans you get war and weapons.

So Brevard County you got what you paid for and I am sure there is plenty of evidence right here in these postings that illustrate what kind of paranoid uppity anti-American, anti-Christian Conservative Republican Fascist holding us back as usual.

Even the Republican Party Leader Rush Limbaugh says he hopes the President Fails so we can put another cancerous Republican in office to ruin the country

Anonymous said...

Yeah I love how all the republicans at the cape who hate and dispise Obama act like he "owes" them anything. You right wing nuts did nothing for him, so have fun in the unemployment line. NASA is the biggest government waste project there is.

Anonymous said...

The anti-Republican remarks are very humorous. Obama is helping to bankrupt the country and embrace socialism and you probably think that is a good thing!
NASA gives back a lot more then it takes in and provides invaluable scientific information. Long term, space technology may represent the best chance humanity has for long term survival.
Thankfully, the other 2 posters have opinions in the minority....

Anonymous said...

Well, we hope our Senators and Congressional Reps go to bat for our economic interests. It is one of the reasons we elected them. I'm sure they'll team with the Texans and some Californians on the Shuttle situation. Johnson Space Center in Houston and Vandenberg in California have the same issues.

Anonymous said...

As a Democrat, I support NASA wholeheartedly.

Take that. Some people are so politically charged that it's impossible to take their words without a grain of salt.

Anonymous said...

That anti-Republican rant is clearly the work of the grade school drop out Antagonist...

Anonymous said...

"Obama is helping to bankrupt the country and embrace socialism"

Im so sick of hearing this, you need to quit listening to your BFF Rush so much.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the politics, I fear the Shuttle is just too old to continue flying safely. Although you can replace the avionics, etc. the internal structure can't be replaced--at 30 years old and @ 2.5 Billion or so for each launch, its just too dangerous to fly much longer and too expensive to operate period. The reductions for contractors and NASA alike are do primarily in reductions to the complexity of the vehicle. If you recall Delta Clipper needed about 20 or so people to operate and maintain the vehicle at the launch stand. NASA has a marching army of contractors and civil servants due to the complex hydraulics, tiles and other system. NASA has to move forward. These jobs are just not needed if we go to simpler, more flexible vehicles whether its a Delta, Atlas derivative or Ares 1 for the 1st stage. On the other hand, NASA should concentrate on science and not on launch vehicles..industry could have done a much better job making this happen more efficiently. NASA is essentially outsourcing the design to service subcontractors.

Anonymous said...

What the? Why do these idots come here and post the most stupid political stuff for an Agency that strives for Science! Of course for those that do not give a hoot for Science then, turn in your Cell Phones, Computers, Sun Glasses, and best of all your large Plasma / LED wide High Definition Viewing sets!