Say what you like about President Obama, but at least he’s
no coward. Otherwise, the last place he’d want to show his face is central
Florida, ground zero for the next tsunami of job layoffs following the
retirement of the space shuttle program later this year.
Obama’s plans for human spaceflight also take away the Band-aid
some people had been consoling themselves with, the under-funded but under way
moon exploration initiative known as Constellation. What he proposes to take
its place has not been well articulated nor well received, particularly by politicians in Florida, Texas and
Alabama who fear the wrath of angry voters with more time than job prospects on
Hoping to stem the tide of discontent, Obama is coming to Florida
next month to talk space, the White House announced Sunday.
The agenda, participants and location of the space summit is
still TBD, but at least the date is set — April 15. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a
Florida Democrat who chairs a NASA oversight committee, said the summit likely
would be held somewhere around Kennedy Space Center.
U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, a Democrat from nearby New Smyrna
Beach, said in a statement that she hopes Obama will “articulate a clear vision
for protecting the Space Coast's highly skilled work force and for maintaining
America's leadership in space exploration."
The White House said the conference will “focus on the goals
and strategies in this new vision, the next steps, and the new technologies,
new jobs, and new industries it will create. Conference topics will
include the implications of the new strategy for Florida, the nation, and our
ultimate activities in space.”