Friday, May 08, 2009

Nelson requests space earmarks

A day after Space Florida's president resigned, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson submitted earmark funding requests to get $10 million for two space industry projects to be administered by Space Florida, whose leader Steve Kohler quit under pressure Thursday.

Nelson has requested a $5 million earmark to help refurbish Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. He has also requested $5 million for a thermal vacuum chamber and an additional $4 million for a technology outreach program to be administered through the Technological Research And Development Authority in Brevard County.

The funding requests break Nelson's tradition of avoiding earmarks for space industry funding.

"What I am concerned about is jobs," Nelson said. "That's why I'm putting in for this money."

Nelson said he agreed with the former Space Florida director's plan to build a second commercial launch pad at the Cape.

"I support that," Nelson said. "The problem is, they haven't been effective."

The earmarks for Space Florida were submitted Friday because it was the deadline. The timing had nothing to do with Kohler's resignation.

"It just happens to be coincidental," Nelson said.

He's asked Gov. Charlie Crist to conduct a national talent search for the next Space Florida leader and to ramp up the effort to bring commercial launch companies to the Cape.

"I want the best and brightest because over the last 25 years, the other nations have eaten our lunch and taken away the commercial space launch business," Nelson said.

Nelson said he has been in Washington D.C. working to get the administration to commit to finishing the International Space Station, even if the schedule goes past the 2010 deadline for stopping shuttle flights.

"I expect that will be through 2011 instead of ending in 2010," he said.

Nelson also said he believes President Obama is close to naming a NASA director. The position has been vacant since January.

"I don't have any timing for you," Nelson said. "I think it's pretty clear the President is getting down to his final selection process."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Republicans would rather loose their jobs than to take money from Tax Payers in an earmark.

Sean Hannity says real Conservatives need to make sacrifices and not accept an earmark especially when it comes to saving Tax Funded jobs.

I think Sean Hannity is a Fascist and I think that I am right.