Click the arrow to watch the "60 Minutes" segment on the loss of jobs in Brevard County after the end of the Space Shuttle.
The 60 Minutes segment on job losses aired tonight.
Below is a comment I posted on the CBSNews.com web site in response to the segment, expressing my opinion.
Sorry, Mr. Pelley, but you got some things wrong in this segment and you misled your viewers in much of the rest.
Let's start with your implication that Obama broke his promise to help with jobs here in the Space Coast.
The fact is that in April 2010 Obama directed the creation of a Task Force on Space Industry Workforce and Economic Development. Its objective was to create "an interagency action plan to facilitate economic development strategies and plans along the Space Coast and to provide training and other opportunities for affected aerospace workers so they are equipped to contribute to new developments in America's space program and related industries."
The report was issued on August 15, 2010. The U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration (EDA) issued a request for applications from entities interested in funding to create jobs in the Space Coast.
Congress, however, failed to provide the funding for this $35 million program. When the GOP took over the House in January 2011, they blocked the funding so it died.
You said Obama cancelled Constellation, but you didn't say why.
Constellation was years behind schedule and billions over budget. It received a number of bad audits from the independent Government Accountability Office. The last audit said that Constellation "lacked a sound business case."
Ares I was the rocket being designed under Constellation that was to provide crew access to the International Space Station. It had only one test flight after years of design and billions spent. The first Ares I crew flight wasn't going to be until 2017.
But here's the key fact you failed to disclose -- Ares I was going to be funded by decommissioning the ISS in 2015. In short, the Ares I was being built to go to a place that would no longer exist when it was finally ready to launch.
You also failed to tell your viewers that President Bush cancelled the Shuttle in January 2004, and you failed to tell them why. The Shuttle was cancelled because the Columbia Accident Investigation Board concluded that the Shuttle was "a complex and risky system," to use their own words. Bush announced that the Shuttle would fly only to finish the ISS, and then it would be retired. Congress agreed, so in 2004 the clock started on ending the Shuttle and replacing it with something else.
In the very first Senate hearing on January 28, 2004, then-NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe said there would be a minimum four-year gap after the end of Shuttle, during which time we'd rely on Russia. So that decision was made eight years ago, and it was approved by Congress.
Finally, regarding the Shuttles bar ... At one time, it had all Shuttle memorabilia, but the owner removed much of it and replaced it with a sports motif. The service was terrible and the food was mediocre. My wife and I stopped going there because it sometimes took an hour to have our meals delivered to the table. The King's Duck Inn, two miles down the road, does extremely well and is packed even on weeknights.
And as for the video you showed of Miracle City Mall in Titusville, that's been a derelict since the 1970s after Apollo ended. You failed to mention that the Titusville city council has approved a revitalization program for Miracle City Mall that should draw back shoppers. Had they done so years ago, it wouldn't be a ghost town today.
Mr. Pelley, I'm very disappointed with this piece because you did so well with the SpaceX segment. I hope you run a segment where you explain the facts to your viewers about how we got to where we are today.
UPDATE April 3, 2012 — NASA Administrator Charles Bolden posted a blog responding to the 60 Minutes segment.
On Sunday, 60 Minutes aired a story that captured some of what the space shuttle era meant to Florida’s Space Coast. Unfortunately, the piece also missed an awful lot of important context about the end of that era and where we’re headed from here.