Bipartisan Effort to Save Manned Spaceflight

A coalition of lawmakers is asking the President for a compromise on the future of human spaceflight. As Laurie Johnson reports — the bipartisan group sent a letter to the administration outlining strategies to save NASA's Constellation Program.

Sixty-two Democrats and Republicans came together to sign the letter which was sent to President Barack Obama this week. The majority are from Texas and Florida, but lawmakers from 16 other states are also on the list.

Houston Congressman Gene Green says the group worked across party lines to demonstrate the nation's commitment to the space program.

"Our goal is to show the president that your suggested budget does not have the votes in the House of Representatives and probably not in the Senate. So let's sit down and see what we can do to work out the differences to the benefit of the people who now work at NASA."

If the President's proposed budget for NASA goes through, it's estimated as many as 10,000 employees and contractors would lose their jobs, with Houston bearing the brunt of the cutbacks.

The letter calls for the continuation of the Constellation program, in which NASA has already invested $10 billion.

"We don't need to lose a generation of aerospace engineers who are now working on the Constellation and cancel that program and say ok we don't need you for seven or eight years. That's not going to work, we need to keep that talent employed for the heavy lift research that we need to do on the — for a bigger vehicle to go to space."

Green, a Democrat, worked with Republican Congressman John Culberson, also of Houston, to draft the letter and rally the group of Congressional representatives.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...