What Colorado Pols Are Doing to Save Space Funding

April 2010

Colorado's senior senator is exerting seemingly significant efforts to convince NASA Administrator Charles Bolden to re-evaluate a proposal to cancel Constellation, a program that would return humans to the moon. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, with a home base in south Jefferson County, is the prime contractor for the Orion crew vehicle, a critical piece of the Constellation project. Senator Mark Udall, a Democrat, has suggested to Bolden a restructuring of the Constellation program so "some Orion-like effort could move forward," allowing Lockheed to stay "up and doing what it is doing right now" (via The Denver Post). While it's unclear whether Udall (pictured) has been convincing, state Representative Frank McNulty, a Highlands Ranch Republican whose constituents would be affected by a shut-down, questions whether Colorado lawmakers have done enough to salvage the program. That peeves Congressman Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat who says Colorado's delegation, including Republican Congressmen Mike Coffman and Doug Lamborn, has urged the Obama administration to keep the program, (via The Associated Press). Coffman says Lockheed Martin employees in Colorado told him NASA has stopped returning their phone calls and e-mails regarding ongoing work. He emphasizes, however, that no congressional decision has been made on Constellation or Orion (via the Denver Business Journal). Coffman adds that without some kind of manned space-flight program, the United States could end up relying on Russia and China to launch space-based vehicles.