Mayor Annise Parker has sent President Obama a formal invitation to visit Johnson Space Center. The invite is part of ongoing efforts to convince the Obama Administration to reconsider its proposal to end the Constellation manned space flight program.
In this latest letter to the president, Mayor Parker writes, “I know you recognize the personnel who work directly or indirectly with JSC are a highly talented group, but nothing compares to meeting these brilliant individuals where their incredible work is done. You will not leave JSC and the Clear Lake area without being impressed with their skill-set and contribution to national security and technological advancement.”
The invitation follows the mayor’s recent meeting with numerous top Obama Administration officials, including Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. Despite those meetings, the mayor left Washington “still very concerned with the new and untested direction of the American human space exploration program being proposed in the FY2011 NASA budget.” She believes the Constellation program would help the JSC workforce transition effectively as the space shuttle is retired from active service once the International Space Station is completed next year. Without Constellation, Houston stands to lose anywhere from 4,000 to 7,000 high-tech jobs. The impact to the region is estimated to be $560 million.
President Obama is already scheduled to visit Kennedy’s Space Center in Florida. The mayor believes a visit to JSC is imperative if the president is to get a full understanding of the impact of his proposal.