ORLANDO, Fla – President Barack Obama visited the Sunshine State Thursday evening for a fund-raising dinner that cost $30,000 a plate. All total, Obama made four stops in Florida, including Miami and Orlando – but made no stops to Florida’s Space Coast. Senator Bill Nelson and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the Chairwoman for the Democratic National Committee traveled with the president on the trip from Miami.
While on the campaign trail in 2008, Obama made references to NASA’s program-of-record, Constellation, and promised to support it. Once elected – he attempted repeatedly to scrap all elements of the program. Eventually a compromise was made with Congress that saw elements of the program saved in various forms.
Florida’s Space Coast has been severely impacted by economic hard times. The unemployment rate is higher than the national average, hovering between 10 and 12 percent. Many businesses in the area have gone out of business and workers who once worked to send spacecraft to orbit and beyond – have fled the area in search of work that no longer exists at Kennedy Space Center or Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
For the president’s visit, both of the iconic 747s that the president normally travels in – were down for scheduled maintenance. The president traveled in a 757. After arriving at Orlando International Airport (OIA) Obama was transported in a motorcade that consisted of some 22 vehicles to the home of National Basketball Association (NBA) player Vince Carter for the fundraiser which was attended by 70 people. After the dinner Obama left OIA directly for Washington D.C.Missions » ISS » Missions » ISS » COTS »