Monday, February 15, 2010

In Virginia, NASA 'new direction' could lift local space assets

Sample ballistic Ranges of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) adjacent to NASA facilities at Wallops Island, on the Atlantic and within Virginia's portion of the Delmarva Peninsula. Headquarters for Orbital Sciences Corporation, Wallops Island is set to become one of two points of origin for ATV cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station [NASA].

Michael Schwartz
Excerpted from the Virginia Pilot

The decision to forgo, at least temporarily, manned trips to the moon and beyond will have a direct impact on NASA Langley in Hampton. The research facility was involved in several areas of the Constellation program.

According to Keith Henry, NASA Langley spokesman, about 300 service employees and 80 contractors have been working at NASA Langley on the Constellation program. Of NASA Langley's $750 million annual budget, about $65 million was funding for Constellation, Henry said.

Closing the door on Constellation will provide opportunities in many other space-related areas. In fact, as many other departments will see cuts, the president has proposed that NASA receive $19 billion in 2011 and a total of about $5 billion through 2015, all to be used to transform NASA into a more efficient organization.

Perhaps most promising from a local economic development perspective is the administration's call for increased reliance on commercial industry to help NASA get to space.

The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority and its Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island on the Eastern Shore all of a sudden are in the right place at the right time.

Excerpted from the full article, HERE.

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