Space Shuttle Blues: County Commissioner Calls for a Congressional Investigation (UPDATED With NY Smack Talk)

You know what the Space Shuttle fiasco needs? Congress getting involved.

At least that's the thinking of Harris County Commissioner Jack Morman.

He's introducing a resolution at next week's meeting demanding Congress investigate "Nasa's decision-making process concerning the permanent location of the space shuttle orbiters."

Yes, that will help.

Some of Houston is still reeling from not being named as the home for one of the four shuttles that are going to museums. We get that.

But let us save Congress the time and money of an investigation.

Politicians in Houston and Texas fell down on the job.

Did Rick Perry ever make much of an effort to land a shuttle? No. Did Annise Parker? No.

The city, state and congressional delegations got on the job way too late and with way too little.

We agree with the take of Wayne Hale, former Space Shuttle Program Manager, who wrote this on his blog:

Houston didn't get an orbiter because Houston didn't deserve it....

Houston is blasé about the shuttles. Houston and Texas have come to regard NASA and JSC as entitlements. We deserve JSC and the shuttle just because of who we are....

No disrespect to those who spearheaded the effort to bring the shuttle here, but the response was lackluster. The local politicians gave lip service, some weak letters to the NASA administrator and little else. We got a limp editorial or two in the local newspaper. The movers and shakers downtown barely lifted a finger. Its hard to tell if Austin and the Texas Legislature even knew what was happening. A rally at city hall was poorly attended, too little, too late, and totally ineffective.

You can tell that Texas regards involvement with NASA as an entitlement by the evidence: when was the last time a sitting governor came to JSC? I know the answer: Ann Richards in 1995. When was the last time the Houston mayor bothered to visit JSC? Anybody remember?

But hey, maybe Congress will come up with a different answer. Like (gasp!!) the shuttles went to blue states.

Update: CultureMap found on New York Senator Chuck Schumer's generous, sympathetic response to Houston's heartbreak in a New York Daily News piece.

"I say to Houston, when people all around the world, in London and in Tokyo and in Paris, Buenos Aires say 'Gee, I can't wait for my trip to Houston,' then you can have a shuttle," said Schumer.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly