There was a recent article in the Orlando Sentinel that carried the title, Is Utah Emerging As A Rival To KSC that we thought was a bit over the top and therefore deserving of comment. In actuality, there is very little reporting in the article to support the notion of Utah benefiting at the expense of Kennedy Space Center. What the article does discuss at length is that the President’s proposed derailment to America’s human space flight program is itself coming to an end, and leaves the impression that such a fate is unpopular in the KSC area. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Some have imagined that, should the President’s proposed human space flight plans gain approval, the KSC area would see a new Renaissance of rocketry. They view any deviation from the President’s space plans as a set-back for the KSC area and the growth of Space Coast jobs. Sadly, most of the jobs of the “commercial” launchers remain in their home states, though we are certain that the commercial launchers will, at some future date, be willing to throw a few bones in an attempt to placate Florida lawmakers. But Senator Nelson has another idea; he seems to be, along with the other leaders of the Senate Science Committee, of the opinion that NASA should remain the leader of America’s human space flight program.
KSC workers, with whom we occasionally speak, are very nearly unanimous in their opposition, and that’s putting it politely, to the proposed White House plans to exit human space flight. In that, it seems that their desires and the actions of Senator Nelson, are in sync.
True, if the 5-segment solid rocket motor (SRM) program, previously known as Ares I, were to continue, ATK would benefit, as would Utah.
But to claim that such benefit on ATK’s part would be at the expense of Kennedy Space Center and its workers is hyperbole. What will happen is that America’s progress as the world’s leader in human space flight, though temporarily delayed by the White House, will resume with KSC being a key beneficiary as America’s gateway to the heavens. And the voters of Florida can thank their stars that they had Senator Nelson to steer not only them, but the nation, back on course to exploring the wonders beyond earth orbit.