Friday, December 18, 2009

Kosmas Aims To Set Pelosi Straight On Space

This just in from U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach:

WASHINGTON -- Today, Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24) responded to comments made about human spaceflight by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Earlier this week when asked about increased funding for NASA's human spaceflight program, Speaker Pelosi said that she is not "a big fan of manned expeditions to outer space, in terms of safety and cost," and that "a judgment will be made as to what it does in terms of job creation," (Florida Today, 12/17/09).

In response to the comments, Kosmas sent a letter to the Speaker outlining the numerous economic benefits of human spaceflight and highlighting the thousands of jobs that depend on a strong space program.

"Since day one, supporting Kennedy Space Center and NASA's human spaceflight program has been one of my top priorities," said Congresswoman Kosmas. "While we await the Administration's vision and recommendations for the future of the program, I believe I have an obligation to reiterate to the Speaker the numerous benefits that space exploration provides.

"Our human spaceflight program boosts our economy, helps develop countless new technologies, and supports thousands of jobs in Central Florida and across the country. Space exploration is also critical for inspiring this and future generations to excel in science and technology for the 21st Century. I will continue fighting at every turn to ensure a robust human spaceflight program."

In her letter, Kosmas wrote, "I urge you to keep in mind both the tangible and intangible benefits provided by investing in NASA and our nation's human space flight program. There is no question that increased funding for NASA, as recommended by the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, will help to create and retain highly-skilled, high-paying jobs across the country, including up to 7,000 direct jobs currently at risk in Florida."

The full text of Congresswoman Kosmas' letter can be found below:
Dear Speaker Pelosi:

Given your commitment to fiscal responsibility, job creation, and science, I am writing in response to your comments earlier this week about the need for additional funding for our nation's human space flight program, its impact on jobs, and safety. While I understand your concerns about the costs of space exploration, I urge you to keep in mind both the tangible and intangible benefits provided by investing in NASA and our nation's human spaceflight program.

There is no question that increased funding for NASA, as recommended by the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, will help to create and retain highly-skilled, high-paying jobs across the country, including up to 7,000 direct jobs currently at risk in Florida. Large and small suppliers, academia, and NASA Centers in nearly every state contribute to our nation's human space flight program. According to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the aerospace engineering and manufacturing industry directly employed approximately 650,000 people in 2008, including 200,000 engineers and scientists.

In Florida, NASA's impact is not just limited to those directly employed at the Kennedy Space Center; every direct NASA job translates into 2.82 jobs created statewide. The space program had a total statewide impact of $4.1 billion in output, $2.1 billion of household income, and 40,802 jobs in Fiscal Year 2008. Increased funding for NASA will help to maintain and create aerospace and related jobs in Florida and across the country, enabling economic recovery and ensuring we maintain our technological preeminence.

Additionally, it is important to keep in mind the impact of decisions made today on the future of our high-tech workforce. Witnesses at a recent Science and Technology Committee hearing stressed the need for a strong commitment to and stability of funding for human space flight in order to recruit young people into Science, Technology, Math and Engineering (STEM) fields. You have stated that science is one of your top priorities as Speaker and you have shown your commitment through increased funding for science and research and the enactment of the COMPETES initiative.

I urge you to take into account how our nation's human space flight program aligns with these goals and the impact it continues to have in encouraging students to pursue careers in STEM fields. A recent nationwide study of aerospace engineering students conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that 40 percent of aerospace engineering students specifically cited human space flight as the inspiration to pursue a career in aerospace. While these students may not all end up in the human space flight arena, it is clear that our human spaceflight program has had a positive, disproportionate impact and important influence over those that decide to pursue careers in STEM fields. This contribution was also noted in the report issued by Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee.

In his testimony to the Science and Technology Committee, A. Thomas Young, former Director of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and currently a Director of Science and Applications International Corporation (SAIC), described the workforce that we have invested in over the decades as "a national treasure" that "has a limited shelf life." If we do not support and continue to develop the workforce in which we have spent decades investing in and building, and which has ensured our national security and technological supremacy, it will be dispersed and very difficult to reassemble or rebuild.

Failing to invest in our human space flight program now will also cause us to be completely reliant upon other countries for access to space and the International Space Station (ISS) for at least 5 years, as the current budget situation dictates. We should not send our constituent’s hard-earned dollars overseas; investing in our space flight capabilities and working to reduce the space flight gap will drive our economy and keep highly-skilled, high-paying jobs here at home.

Finally, just as the Apollo, Shuttle and Space Station programs have lead to new technologies that improve the lives of every American, so too will the next generation human space flight program. Innovations developed for journeys to the moon, Mars, or asteroids will no doubt help us to address important issues facing our nation through the development of new forms of alternative energy and improvement of medical and communications technologies.

Increased funding for NASA will preserve and create high-tech jobs across our nation, help to mitigate the impending space flight gap, and ensure our nation’s continued leadership in space and technology. I urge you to join me in supporting a robust human space flight program that will provide long-lasting scientific, technological and economic benefits for our nation.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Representative Kosmas,

As one who actually campaigned for you and contributed to you, let me please ask why, if jobs are important, you did not fight to keep the Shuttle flying until 2020, as we had planned? That would have reduced the spaceflight gap and the job losses - to zero!! And after years of difficulties the Shuttle was finally working well, with five flawless flights this year. Soon the SSPF and SLSL will be empty, just when they should be at their most productive, and we will have to bum rides to the ISS from the Russians.

If you want to save jobs,
1) Forget Constellation
2) Keep Shuttle flying
3) Expand the KSC mission; select tasks based on practical value to America. We need to think less about whether what KSC does is relevant to the NASA mission, and more about whether the NASA mission is relevant to America.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, because Rep. Kosmas can single-handedly set the agenda of an EXECUTIVE AGENCY whose operations are controlled exclusively by the PRESIDENT and his administration!



(not even to mention a freshman rep acting unilaterally for 535 members of the US Congress)

You people need to get real. If you want politicians to care about the space program, you need to make the country care about the space program. It's your livelihood. This is on you.

Anonymous said...

My dearest Kosmas,
when I wrote you an email about losing my home to the bank you sent me a computer generated letter saying "good luck buddy". Now you leader is shutting down NASA, well,some of the NASA folks costs me my home, they "flipped" homes here in brevard until we have an overabundance of empty homes rotting away and talk of building 15,000 more.
Im going to finally agree with a democrat, shut down the space center, let the workforce learn what real life is like, we can rebound, it might take years but we will do it!! While you are at it, abolish most government run agencies that are not pulling their weight, open contract bidding to local companies only for government jobs. Its about time we here in America take it on the chin, get up and fight another fight, this one is over.

Anonymous said...

>>Yeah, because Rep. Kosmas can single-handedly set the agenda of an EXECUTIVE AGENCY whose operations are controlled exclusively by the PRESIDENT and his administration!<<

Would that it were so. Congress just passed a law forbidding the president from shutting down Constellation _unless_ Congress approves. Guess we don't have to ask who lobbied for that.

Anonymous said...

Kosmas released some a public relations text and Pelosi listened. And Obama listened. And cows jumped over the moon.

Conor said...

Anonymous 6:27 PM
If you forget Constellation and keep the Shuttle flying, you're stuck in Earth orbit with nothing much for the Shuttle to do. It's not suitable for keeping the ISS manned, as it can't stay up long enough to serve as a lifeboat. And it would be a waste of its capabilities anyway.
I'd like to see them flying for longer alongside Constellation, but it isn't going to happen. Not with the budgets available.

Tim846 said...

I'm glad to see Kosmas doing her job and standing up for the largest single employer in her district. I've watched her speak out at numerous Congressional committee hearings dealing with space.

I don't understand the comments about KSC workers being responsible for an * international* real estate bubble. There were TONS of out-of-town investors looking to flip properties in Brevard (I know because I was bidding against them to find a house for my family to LIVE in during early 2006). Firing all of the space center employees will make the housing market here WORSE, not better. Please think about what another 15,000 empty houses (from all the space center employees moving away) will do to your property value.

And for those that still insist that keeping the Shuttle flying was (or is) our best option: Please move on. There are NO plans to keeping that 40-year-old system operating any longer. It is overly complicated and out-dated. Although we may have loved it, the Shuttle program is ending.

The best way for Kosmas to help us is to get more companies to move to the Space Coast and to expand the operations of existing companies. Counting on Congress to fund our economy is dangerous: we saw that during the shut down between Apollo and Shuttle.

Mark said...

Pelosi is a complete bum, but Kosmas is only a half-step better. I agree with the first poster...the shuttle should have been extended to 2020 like originally planned. How many jobs would be lost that way? What would the gap be like that way?

If the shuttle truly only flies five more missions, forget the space coast. I don't think these politicians realize what a disaster that will be...or if they do, they just don't care.

Matt said...

I definitely agree with Tim846. Losing the workforce won't do anything except hurt eveeryone along the Space Coast. If you think it means you'll finally be able to find an affordable house, think again. How will you pay for it when you're out of work also? It's not just 7,000 KSC workers who'll be out of jobs. It will be an additional 20,000-plus people all over the county who will lose their jobs - people who work in the restaurants, malls, stores, landscapers and other "non-space" businesses that support the aserospace workforce in the county. Think about that before spouting off some knee-jerk reaction born out of jealousy because other people have done well financially working at the space center and you haven't. Get over the "they're finally gonna git theirs" attitude. We're all in this together because we're all going to be in the same boat.

And as for keeping the shuttle flying longer, does anyone remember why the decision was made to retire the fleet instead of continue plans to fly it until 2020 under the Shuttle Life Extension Program? It was because of Columbia. No matter what, the shuttle will FAIL and kill the entire crew once every 80 missions (or so). So, if you advocate flying another 10 years, then you are also advocating destroying another orbiter and killing another seven people. I, personally, do not. We've lost 14 already.

Anonymous said...

The Speaker of the House is and idiot! Everytime she opens her mouth something stupid comes out. We are all swirling down the toilet under the mentality that this woman preaches to America. It's people like her that will force any creative and intelligent minds to other countries hungry for making great strides for mankind and technology!

Anonymous said...

Conor: >>If you forget Constellation and keep the Shuttle flying, you're stuck in Earth orbit with nothing much for the Shuttle to do. It's not suitable for keeping the ISS manned, as it can't stay up long enough to serve as a lifeboat. And it would be a waste of its capabilities anyway.<<

The Soyuz can serve as a lifeboat. Only shuttle can deliver supplies, crew, and new modules simultaneously, with the RMS to install them. We should retire it when we have something better and less expensive. As to being "stuck" in orbit, I never met anyone who felt trapped in LEO who had actually been there.

Constellation, unfortunately, is a very expensive program which produces no practical benefits for America. It is unlikely to win support; the taxpayers are not going to give us $150B to go to the moon just because we are bored with LEO. We first need to show that human spaceflight can be productive and practical in LEO.

Perhaps more important, we need to show that KSC can produce science and technology of practical value to America. That means we must broaden the KSC mission, to include winning back a share of the commercial launch business, industrial development, transportation, clean energy, environment, life and medical sciences. As long as KSC can do nothing but launch rockets, it will be on thin ice.

vulture4 said...

Tim646: [Shuttle] is overly complicated and out-dated.

me: A cynic might say the same about Constellation...Ares 1-Orion now appears to have a higher mission cost than Shuttle, and its major components, the SRB and upper stage, and in some major respects event the capsule, are based on pre-shuttle designs, in fact that was its major selling point.

Anonymous said...

This is not the 1970's there are 540,000 people in Brevard County. I don't think 7000 people laid off will shut the county down. You should have saved the extra money you were given to stay on until the end.

Anonymous said...

Pelosi - what a joke - with her pasted on smile that just makes you cringe and her attitude that she rules the world makes you want to puke. Put her on the space station and leave her there