Friday, May 8, 2009

Bill Nelson's letter to Charlie Crist

Dear Charlie,

We have arrived at a critical juncture both for the future of human spaceflight and for Florida's Space Coast. Over the next two years, NASA will complete the Shuttle's nine remaining missions. Meanwhile, the President has ordered a complete review of the nation's human spaceflight program, to determine how we can best return to the moon while stimulating the development of commercial spaceflight capabilities.

This transitional period will pose unique challenges - and opportunities - for our state. As we look to the future, Space Florida must play a vital role in maintaining Florida's position as a world leader in aerospace research and space exploration.

With that in mind, I write to ask that you undertake a nationwide talent search for a world-class manager to lead Space Florida during this critical time. We need to attract the best and the brightest, and to make sure that they lead the organization in a direction that makes all Floridians proud.

Meantime, I have submitted two of Space Florida's funding priorities to the Senate Appropriations Committee. I will work with the committee to provide funding to renovate an abandoned launch complex near the Kennedy Space Center, which will be available for commercial launches, and to rebuild a cutting-edge vacuum chamber for testing the next lunar lander and future commercial satellites.

I will work my hardest to ensure that we fund these important projects. I hope that Space Florida's next leader will take advantage of that funding to attract new business and investment to the Space Coast, and I look forward to working with you toward that end.

Human spaceflight has provided some of our nation's proudest moments, from Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon to construction of the International Space Station. Images of rockets arcing over Cape Canaveral still symbolize our nation's passion for exploration, and must continue to inspire future generations.



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