Reprinted in full below — DS
AUSTIN, TX, AUG 30, 2011 – The Texas Space Alliance (TXA) urged Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and the rest of the Texas Congressional delegation to give their full support to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s call for transferring funding to American spacecraft companies and end plans for a giant “pork” rocket being promoted by the Senator and others. On Wednesday, 24 Aug 2011, Rep. Rohrabacher (R-CA) boldly called for an emergency funding transfer of NASA’s unobligated funds into their commercial crew program in response to the failure of a Russian Soyuz rocket to deliver a Progress supply freighter to the International Space Station (ISS).
“This funding transfer will rapidly accelerate the progress of American companies currently developing innovative crew and cargo transport vehicles here in the United States – all of which are based in or have significant and expanding operations in Texas,” said TXA’s Rick Tumlinson. “These companies; SpaceX, Boeing, Sierra Nevada, and Blue Origin are leading a revolution, and they need to see our legislators fighting for them – not against them.”
The TXA believes Congress should cancel plans for what many are now calling the Senate Launch System (SLS), a $38 billion dollar earmark to produce a giant government rocket not due to fly until 2021 – if ever. SLS would cannibalize funds previously intended for other projects, including many based at Johnson Space Center. It would also gut the aforementioned commercial crew programs intended to create a new US commercial space fleet to carry astronauts to the space station rather than outsourcing the job to Russian government vehicles.
“While it is well meant attempt to save jobs, it seems doomed to fail in the end – something our workers, space program and taxpayers cannot afford…literally.” said TXA’s Wayne Rast. “SLS may even starve the space station – a Houston based program – eat exploration technology dollars that would be spent right here, and force our Texas-based Astronaut corps to fly to space on Russian rockets. SLS would be better off de-funded so that money can be spent on true American innovation and progress. Let’s keep our Texas workforce on the leading edge of tomorrow, and build that future in Texas.”
Concluded Tumlinson: “Senator Hutchison, you and others can continue to force funding for dead-end white collar “jobs” programs like SLS down NASA’s throat and continue exporting US jobs to Russia or you can support space exploration and our own private companies – who will preserve American leadership on the frontier, lead to the birth of a Texas NewSpace industry and progress for the state and for the nation. The people of Texas are watching.”