Houston Congressional Delegation Questions Obama Space Policy

President Obama's plan to cut NASA's human spaceflight program — known as Constellation — is finding some resistance from Houston's congressional delegation. Eric Niiler reports from Washington.
After hearing from top NASA officials at a subcommittee hearing, Republican Pete Olson said he's worried about cuts not only the Johnson Space Center in Houston, but the ripple effect it could have throughout the region.

"Thousands of people are going to lose their jobs. Government personnel, the contractors that support them, and just as important, you can't forget them, the indirect people: the people out in the community, the little mom and pop restaurant, the cleaners that the NASA people go to every day."

The president's budget extends the life of the International Space Station for another 5 years, and many of the jobs that contractor Boeing has on the task are in Houston. That's not enough to offset the other cuts.

"The center I represent, as you know right now, they support three missions — the International space station, the space shuttle, and the constellation. And we're going to stop flying the space shuttle at the end of this year — 4 more flights. And this administration is trying to kill the constellation. So we're going to have one of three missions right now. It will have a tremendous impact on the economy."

The provisional NASA budget is pending congressional approval, but it's not clear whether Olson and others will be able to keep the space program alive.

From Capitol News Connection, Eric Niiler, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.