Marshall Space Flight Center looks to the future

By Jeanie Powell - bio | email

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Tuesday, Marshall Space Flight Center employees reacted to President Obama's plan to cancel the Constellation Program.

The news is disappointing to the workforce.

WAFF spoke to several Marshall employees who say they don't know what's going to happen and they're going to do the best job we can until we're told otherwise.

In an afternoon press conference, we heard from Robert Lightfoot, Director of Marshall Space Flight Center.

He said his department is digging through a lot of data and it's going to take time to see the specific impact this has on Marshall.

He drew attention to the positives for NASA that are highlighted in Obama's plan.

He told us, the president's budget request sets NASA on a new course as a catalyst for greater innovation, as it pledges an extra six billion dollars over five years.

But of course, the president's plan calls for the cancellation of Constellation.

Lightfoot explains that Marshall's job is to support NASA's mission and as NASA's priorities change, so must Marshall's and he expects to come out of this just fine.

He said an area outlined in the budget that Marshall will play a strong role in, is heavy lift propulsion, Marshal's speciality.

Lightfoot says NASA will maintain a stable workforce, but what about the thousands of people who played a hand, who dedicated the past four years to Constellation?

He said a lot of that is yet to be determined and at this point, there's a 2010 budget that still needs to be executed and headquarters and congress will be working on any changes they see fit.

Lightfoot said, "we're moving forward and as we get more information on what it would look like in 2011, we would share that with the workforce and where we think they would go, it's a lot of the same skill set would transition into these technology areas very easy actually."

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