NASA bill amendment to propose Marshall Space Flight Ctr. merger

Published: Jul. 18, 2013 at 11:56 AM CDT|Updated: Feb. 28, 2018 at 6:16 PM CST
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The proposal would merge two space flight centers into one.
The proposal would merge two space flight centers into one.

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A U.S. Congresswoman expects to introduce a proposal that could merge two major space flight centers in the U.S. into one, according to a report from

It would establish a commission that would consider how cost-effective it would be to merge the Marshall Space Flight Center with the Stennis Space Flight Center in Hancock County, Mississippi.

Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-4th District) expects to introduce the amendment to the NASA Authorization Bill in Washington Thursday morning.

The Marshall Space Flight Center, located at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, is the third-largest employer in the Madison County area, according to NASA. The center is responsible for more than 6,200 jobs.

The NASA report said MSFC also had a $2.5 billion impact on Alabama's overall economy in 2012.

The proposal will likely see major opposition. Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks (R-5th District) is also in the House Science Space Subcommittee where the amendment will be discussed.

Representative Brooks released this statement:

"NASA's Human Space Flight program has been threatened ever since President Obama unilaterally cancelled Constellation, without Congressional approval, before I was elected in 2010. Constellation would have been America's next generation human space flight rocket program. Marshall Space Flight Center did substantial Constellation work. As a result of President Obama's cancellation of Constellation, America has been reduced to hitching a ride from the Russians in order to man the International Space Station.

"Congressman Donna Edwards’ (D-MD) amendment to shut down the Marshall Space Flight Center is an outgrowth of three things. 

"First, more and more Democrats in Washington prefer to spend America’s limited tax dollars on welfare rather than programs like human space flight that both expand humanity’s understanding of the universe and create technological advances that help everyone.   

"Second, the Budget Control Act of 2011 (which I voted against), an outgrowth of the explosion in welfare costs, cuts funding for NASA and every other non-welfare program in the budget. These cuts put pressure on all federal non-welfare programs, including NASA.

"Third, and in fairness to Congressman Edwards, she is upset that NASA’s Earth Science budget (which affects her district) is targeted for cuts necessary to free up funds to help pay for the Space Launch System, the Orion capsule, the International Space Station, and various other human space flight activities. Earth Science funding has increased more than 50 percent since 2008.  No other part of NASA’s budget has risen so dramatically. And no other part of NASA’s budget can withstand reasonable cuts than Earth Science.

"NASA funding fights have been ongoing for decades and are not apt to stop anytime soon.  I am very hopeful that today’s hearing on the NASA Authorization Act before the Science Space and Technology Committee will result in a swift vote to kill the Edwards Amendment. Lamar Smith, Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, opposes the amendment, and has recommended a no vote to all Members. Space Subcommittee Chairman Palazzo, who represents Stennis, also opposes this amendment.

"I informed Congressman Edwards that cutting America’s welfare programs by a mere 1 percent would free up an additional $7 billion/year in funding for NASA. I offered to help her in that regard.  Unfortunately, she declined my offer of help."

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