Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bill Posey Bill: Keep Shuttle Flying (Source: Florida Today)

Rep. Bill Posey introduced a bill Thursday that would continue flying the shuttle until its replacement, the Ares rocket, or another U.S.-made spacecraft, could immediately resume taking Americans into space. The measure represents the latest attempt by federal lawmakers to extend the life of the shuttle program beyond its scheduled retirement next year. Posey's bill calls for at least two shuttle missions a year, starting in 2010. "Or, they could have three (launches) one year, two the next," the Florida Republican said. "We just don't want to lose our launch team. We'll never be able to get back that kind of talent again."NASA estimates it would cost about $2.5 billion per year to keep flying the shuttle after 2010. Posey called that estimate high. He said he believes the price to be about $1.5 billion per year instead. Although his legislation does not include any funding, he plans to introduce a separate appropriations bill that would provide $1.5 billion for next year's fiscal budget "to get things started." Posey's bill also calls for various cost-cutting measures, including the possible retirement of one of the shuttle orbiters. NASA also would be required to cut back on shuttle upgrades not related to safe operations. (4/3)


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