Posted by brandoniswrite on September 27, 2011
WASHINGTON — In a move to protect their turf, Florida space leaders are sending letters in opposition to a proposed expansion at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, warning a move to expand the launch range there could be “duplicative” of work done at Kennedy Space Center.
The concern is not without merit. Wallops Flight Facility has a godmother in U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, who chairs the powerful Senate subcommittee with control of NASA’s dollars. If Wallops were to expand its launch capabilities, she likely could steer even more dollars there.
It’s a situation feared by Florida policymakers, as Kennedy Space Center already is struggling to develop an identity now the space shuttle era has ended. State leaders want Florida to remain the prime provider of orbital flights for NASA for astronauts to the International Space Station.
“The most pressing issue for the Florida workforce is the sense of betrayal that their tax dollars might be used in establishing a competing orbital human spaceflight launch capability in another state when they have so well and ably done the job here in Florida,” wrote Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast.
Added Frank DiBello, president of Space Florida, suggested the work could be “duplicative” and raised the possibility of holding a public meeting down in Florida.
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