Tuesday, February 21, 2012

KSC at 50

The Washington Post has a major article looking at Kennedy Space Center in the middle of its transition to the next generation of human spaceflight.

In 2010, President Obama spoke here and vowed to seed a commercial space industry, to replace the canceled Constellation program to return Americans to the moon. With NASA money, American companies would build rockets and spaceships to travel to low Earth orbit. They would deliver astronauts and cargo to the international space station and, someday, to privately owned space stations.

For 2012, the Obama administration and NASA asked for $850 million to spread among American space companies. Congress provided less than half that, $406 million. “Congress hasn’t sufficiently funded it,” said Dale Ketcham, director of the Spaceport Research and Technology Institute at the University of Central Florida. “It’s an Obama idea so Republicans don’t like it” ...

In 2010, Obama also pledged $40 million to transform Kennedy into a diversified research park. Energy, biotechnology and other high-tech companies were supposed to race for the funds — and the services of skilled workers along the 50-mile Space Coast.

But Congress never delivered the $40 million; except for a few small projects, Kennedy has not diversified.

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