Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Space Coast Space Forum Tonight

Florida Today is co-hosting a space forum tonight.

FLORIDA TODAY, along with partners Brevard Community College and the Council of Technical Societies, will host a special forum Tuesday at BCC's Bernard Simpkins Fine Arts Center, to discuss the White House's plans for NASA and the U.S. space program.

The event is open to the public and will begin at 7pm. It also will be shown live on www.floridatoday.com.

The expert panel includes a:
-Space advisor. Marsh Heard, space advisor of the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast
-Union representative. Dan Raymond, business manager and financial secretary with the International Brotherhood of Electrical workers Local 2088, which represents more than 800 workers directly involved in Kennedy Space Center or the Air Force Eastern Range
-Former astronaut. Winston Scott is now dean of Florida Tech's School of Aeronautics, FIT
-Former congressman. Dr. Dave Weldon, a former Congressman and member, House Appropriations Committee. He is a practicing physician with MIMA.

Moderated by Matt Reed, FLORIDA TODAY senior editor and Watchdog columnist, the panel will answer written questions submitted by audience members. The discussion will include topics such as:

-The impact the program will have on the Space Coast and Florida.
-How policies embraced by this budget will impact our future as a spacefaring nation and our reputation as a leader in space

The forum will also be taped and aired several times on WBCC-TV.

A comment posted elsewhere on the paper's web site suggested that all four panelists oppose the Obama administration's proposed FY 2011 budget, so I really don't expect this to be a balanced presentation, just more pandering to the locals, but I'll watch it anyway.

Once Florida Today posts the link to view it live, I'll update this entry with the link. Hopefully, it will be permanently archived online for viewing.


  1. Your point about congress not providing sustained funding for any mission is probably true, that has been their history as far as any long term projects are concerned. On the other hand, without a clear detailed plan, do you think they are going to be any more likely to fund some generalized outline? As a retired scientist I insist that some detail be provided for me to support funding. Lacking that I think that this will be the end of manned space flight by the USA. As a budget hawk, you should agree that spending money without the details of how it will be spent, including the goals, will lead to more wasteful spending.

  2. My understanding is that every year NASA presents a detailed budget that runs about 400 pages. That will contain all the detail.

    I don't know if that's posted on the Internet. Most people would find it mind-numbing. That's what I did when I was a budget analyst, help write the annual document.

    Even so, all these documents usually show is a line-item with a brief description and a dollar amount. I doubt that House and Senate committee members take much time to go item by item, especially when they have so many other federal agencies to review.

    My experience was that if you had two line items, one was $1 million for a big program and the other was $500 for a small program, the elected officials would spend more time arguing about the $500 because it was one small program they would wrap their heads around.

    I suspect that this will go like it always does. The elected officials will make a tweak here and there to throw a bone to special interests, and it will largely pass intact. That's what Nelson's proposal today does -- give them an extra Shuttle flight, extend a couple Constellation programs so he can say he "saved jobs," and it'll go through.

  3. Update ... The proposed budget detail is online, at 517 pages. The link is: