4:55 pm CST - April 27, 2010
Posted under On The Record
Akin warns against eroding defense industrial base
Texas Insider Staff
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO), Ranking Member of the Seapower & Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee and member of the House Science Committee, today joined former astronauts Neil Armstrong, James Lovell & Eugene Cernan in urging President Obama to reconsider cancellation of NASA’s Constellation program along with its Ares rockets and Orion spacecraft. The former Astronauts sent a letter to President Obama Tuesday.
Their letter urged the administration to reconsider cancellation of NASA’s replacement of its space shuttle.
Said Akin’s about the proposed cancellation:
“America’s accomplishments in space exploration have long been a source of pride and inspiration. It is an endeavor that has spanned every administration since President Eisenhower’s. As a result of the necessity of building new technology as well as maintaining our nations leading role in exploration and launch capability, NASA’s manned flight mission has traditionally received broad bipartisan support.
“The decision by the Obama administration to gut NASA’s manned flight program does more than jeopardize the long term goals of solar system exploration, the cancellation of the space shuttles replacement will effectively leave the United States reliant upon the Russians to grant us access to low earth orbit. As a member of the Armed Services Committee I am very concerned with that possibility, and as an American I am disappointed by the prospect,” Akin said.
“From an industrial base perspective, this decision could have some daunting ramifications. NASA and the Department of Defense share a strategically important industrial base, which are large-scale rocket motors (SRMs). If cancellation of Constellation and Ares 1 and Ares 5 occurs, it will be the first time in 46 years that we do not have any DoD or NASA production to sustain this vital defense and space industrial base,” said Akin.
Ceding space capabilities to Russia or China, which many experts fear may soon have more robust manned space programs than the U.S., will lead to foreign perceptions of a weakened and less-capable United States.
The possible negative impacts on the U.S. economy and foreign relations, as well as perceived fears of a decline in the image of the U.S. abroad, are now often cited as additional reasons for concern.
“Several Administration witnesses have testified this year that it is a major defense problem. General Kevin Chilton, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command said he would “flag” two areas of the industrial base as essential to his mission. One is the continued production of solid rocket propellant and motors, which will take a big hit with the end of shuttle missions and completion of the Minuteman III revamp,” Akin said.
First KC-135 Under Recompete Contract Arrives at San Antonio Site
Boeing San Antonio last week welcomed the first KC-135 Programmed Depot Maintenance (PDM) under the recompete contract since the protest was settled. This contract represents approximately 90 potential new jobs at the Boeing site. Boeing is pleased to have been selected to continue performing this maintenance on the KC-135 tanker fleet.
Boeing’s experience and performance record is unmatched in the industry. For 75 years, The Boeing Company has been the leader in aerial refueling technology. Boeing’s KC-135 program has produced measurable results for the USAF. Using Employee Involvement and Lean, Boeing has reduced unit cost and is reducing cycle time, which contributes to overall aircraft availability for daily missions.
The KC-135 program at Boeing-San Antonio is committed to our USAF customer, ensuring aircraft are safe, reliable and mission ready when they are returned to their home stations.
Boeing is looking forward to working with the Air Force as they transition to the next generation of aerial refueling tankers. This partnership with the Air Force will ensure maximum aircraft availability and uninterrupted support for the warfighter.