NASA's future plan has many in Houston concerned

April 16, 2010 2:41:40 PM PDT
There are plenty of critics to President Obama's future plans for NASA. Many of them here in Houston, who are worried about the future of the Johnson Space Center. The president unveiled his ambitious plan for the space agency during a speech at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He's calling for a new type of spacecraft to be built by 2025 to carry man past the moon, into deep space for the first time ever. Until that spacecraft is complete, NASA will work with private companies, like Space-X, to fly to the International Space Station, which will get its life extended by another 5 years.

To fund all of this, President Obama is pledging to pump another $6 billion into NASA's budget over the next six years, paying for it by freezing spending on other government programs.

From our politicians to our workforce, there's concern over this change in mission for NASA.

The president's plan could bring big changes to the greater Houston area, according to the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, and they wouldn't be good ones. They include loss of property and sales tax money, funding of local governments and schools, all because the loss in jobs would be in the thousands.

"A minimum of 4, a maximum of 7, but then you have to throw in the secondary jobs; the person at the nail salon, the person at the bank, the person that sells insurance, flower shop. You gotta add those in and those numbers could reach as high as 12,000 jobs," said Bob Mitchell with the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership.

Representative Pete Olson is among those in the Texas congressional delegation who are still worried about this change, saying the president talked a lot about Kennedy Space Center, but not enough about other space centers, like Johnson Space Center.

The Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership estimates that JSC has about a $1.2 billion economic impact in our area.


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