Obama's 2011 budget proposal could have big impact on NASA - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Obama's 2011 budget proposal could have big impact on local NASA community

By Trang Do - bio | email
Posted by Sam McAdams - email

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - All eyes were on NASA Saturday night, with a celebration of the US Space and Rocket Center's newest permanent exhibit called "The Challenge."

It's an exhibit that shows how Huntsville emerged from being the watercress capitol of the world, to a world-renowned center for human space flight innovation.

But many here in North Alabama also worry about NASA'S future.

They're waiting to see if President Obama's 2011 budget proposal includes any money for Constellation and therefore the Ares Rocket program, based right here in Huntsville.

Dr. Edward Stone has had a storied career with NASA, serving as principal investigator on nine NASA spacecraft missions, including Voyager.

"Space is immense and we can't do everything, and so we have to make choices and that's the critical element, which choices one makes, for the next step in expanding these five frontiers of space," Stone said.

As he waits to hear what will be included for NASA in the budget proposal, Stone said we can't forget how NASA impacts our every day lives.

"The NASA budget had really funded a lot of innovation. For instance, you realize that the coding which is in your cell phone was developed for deep space communication first, so what space does is drive technologies to new limits," said Stone 

Published reports say the Constellation Program, which includes the Marshall Space Flight Center-based Ares Rocket Program, could be severely weakened or cut completely from the 2011 budget.

Journalist Hugh Downs, chairman of the board of governors of the National Space Society hopes lawmakers continue to make space flight a priority.

"First of all an understanding with the legislators, so that they know what the value of space is, particularly manned space." Downs added, "I'd like to see a return to the Moon, I think that's really important."

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