Space Program and Central Florida Technology Development
JFK proudly and boldly proclaimed a national goal to travel to the moon and return. This rallied the industrial, scientific, and spiritual forces of the United States to work in harmony toward this goal. It became a matter of national distinction and pride when we succeeded. So, where are we today. Our Space program has been decimated. I don’t intend on weighing the merits of a space program, other than to state I believe it is in our national interest and it benefits many segments of our society. It creates jobs and furthers scientific achievement, which has many positive spin-offs. Ahhh, just a minute. How are we doing today? We must rely on Russian-made rocket engines to get our space missiles launched into orbit; and we no longer have the Space Shuttle program. It has been reported that the United States military’s space program could see more than 30 missions delayed if Russia follows through with its treat to ban exports of the RD-180 rocket engines used for launching satellites and that the ensuing delays could the U.S. as much as $5 Billion. How did we get into a position of having to depend on the Russians? This is not good, and in my opinion places us in a politically vulnerable position. I consider this to be a political mistake and a national disgrace. I think it is important to note that private industry has taken up the challenge and we now have two private companies developing needed capabilities and that they are competing for government space business. I think it should also be noted that many jobs were lost in the Kennedy Space Center and Titusville area when the Shuttle Program was concluded. Some of the private development is now using some of these facilities. More immediately, in Florida District 9, we have a very healthy and growing technical community.