Annise Parker Strongly Urges (Probably in Vain) NASA to Get Going on Its Next Manned Mission

Mayor Annise Parker joined today with the mayor of Huntsville, Alabama -- do we really need to tell you his name is Tommy Battle? No, really, it is -- to inform NASA and all politicians who vote on it that they better get going on NASA's new project.

The two "have formally asked the Obama Administration to help facilitate quick finalization of all aspects" of the project, which includes new rockets and crew vehicles, called the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV).

If "Help facilitate quick finalization of all aspects" isn't a catchy fighting slogan, we don't know what is.

"President Obama's support for SLS and the MPCV is critical to the stabilization of the aerospace industry and the economic recovery for Houston and other NASA communities," Parker said. "I ask that the White House urge NASA Administrator Charles Bolden to move as expeditiously as possible on all relevant contracts. Speed is imperative to eliminate workforce uncertainty and ensure our nation's global leadership in space and in technological advancement. We must prevent the transfer of Johnson Space Center's cutting-edge brain trust to points around the world."

"The concern," the city said, "is that without clear direction, NASA will use SLS funds for purposes other than SLS, thus undermining the program before it starts."

Or even those funds can get axed as NASA's political clout wanes.

"In Huntsville, we have the world's largest group of experienced propulsion experts that can put man into deep space," Battle said. "When Constellation was cancelled and the shuttle program ended, we began losing this knowledgeable workforce. While I am happy that we now have a mission for SLS, we want to ensure that SLS funding is used for the program, so that we won't lose more of our talented engineers and technicians, and we can return to space."

The city said it and Huntsville had lost 5,300 space-related employees and contractors in the last year.

Update: NASA has responded:

The Obama Administration strongly supports NASA's Space Launch System and deep space crew capsule because it will create jobs and keep America the world leader in space exploration. The Administration is also funding a program to have U.S. companies transport our astronauts to the space station, rather than outsource this to the Russians. Unfortunately, some in Congress are trying to impede this progress. We can't wait while some block these efforts to create jobs and keep America number one in space exploration.

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