Sunday, August 14, 2011

House Budget Threatens KSC Modernization

The Florida SpaceRePort reports that the House version of the proposed Fiscal Year 2012 federal budget would once again defeat efforts by the Obama administration to modernize Kennedy Space Center.

President Obama last year proposed that $429 million would come to NASA Kennedy Space Center in FY-2011 (and $1.9 billion over five years) to modernize NASA infrastructure at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport under the 21st Century Launch Complex (21-CLC) program. The Congressional budget stalemate for FY-2011 resulted in a 21-CLC appropriation of only $128 million and effectively prevented any significant spending during the fiscal year.

Current KSC plans for infrastructure upgrades still hover at around $410 million, but much of this money would come from the Congressionally mandated heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) program, to meet the specific launch site needs of this vehicle. The 21-CLC funds had been intended for broader investments to make the spaceport more competitive for a variety of government and commercial launch programs.

Unfortunately, the House of Representatives has put forth an FY-2012 budget for NASA that now includes only $60 million for 21-CLC. Meanwhile, advocates for Marshall Space Flight Center are said to be maneuvering to minimize KSC infrastructure spending from the SLS account, to allow more to be used for the vehicle's design and development in Huntsville. Florida advocates for KSC say these and other threatened cuts to KSC programs add insult to injury while the Space Coast suffers an economic crisis caused by the Space Shuttle's retirement.

Space Coast representatives Sandy Adams and Bill Posey are fond of claiming Obama is responsible for jobs lost at KSC, yet they are part of the Republican majority in the House responsible for the KSC budget cutbacks.

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