Mayor Annise Parker and Huntsville, Alabama Mayor Tommy Battle have formally asked the Obama Administration to help facilitate quick finalization of all aspects of the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV). The request is included in a letter (attached) to President Obama in which the mayors reiterate the job losses their communities have suffered due to the end of the space shuttle program and the cancellation of the Constellation deep space exploration project.
“President Obama’s support for SLS and the MPCV is critical to the stabilization of the aerospace industry and the economic recovery for Houston and other NASA communities,” said Mayor Parker. “I ask that the White House urge NASA Administrator Charles Bolden to move as expeditiously as possible on all relevant contracts. Speed is imperative to eliminate workforce uncertainty and ensure our nation's global leadership in space and in technological advancement. We must prevent the transfer of Johnson Space Center’s (JSC) cutting-edge brain trust to points around the world.”
The two mayors note that a lot of components of SLS are already built and ready to go. The next phase is completion of the rockets to go into space. The concern is that without clear direction, NASA will use SLS funds for purposes other than SLS, thus undermining the program before it starts.
“In Huntsville, we have the world’s largest group of experienced propulsion experts that can put man into deep space,” said Mayor Battle. “When Constellation was cancelled and the shuttle program ended, we began losing this knowledgeable workforce. While I am happy that we now have a mission for SLS, we want to ensure that SLS funding is used for the program, so that we won’t lose more of our talented engineers and technicians, and we can return to space.”
Houston and Huntsville have, collectively, lost 5300 employees and contractors in the last year.