KSC Workers Rally to Continue Constellation and Extend Shuttle

About 2,000 people turned out for a “Save Our Space Exploration” rally in Titusville, Florida on Saturday. Organized by union leaders, the event focused on preserving jobs at Kennedy Space Center, vital to the economy on the Space Coast. “Canceling the Constellation program is a movement away from what we Floridians know that we made happen,” said Brian Dempsey Secretary/Treasurer of Florida AFL/CIO. “Space Coast, space travel — that’s Florida. That’s what we’re known for. This is not a small matter. This is a huge fight that we’re going to have to buckle down to win. It’s going to take serious dedication and determination.”

No NASA officials spoke, but shuttle launch director Mike Leinbach was in attendance.

Speakers included union and community leaders, and each began with the words, “I’m one of the faces of the Space Coast, my family is worth fighting for, my community is worth fighting for, my job is worth fighting for.”

Rally in Titusville, FL. Image credit: Alan Walters, awaltersphoto.com. Used by permission.

Any mention of commercial space companies or Russian space vehicles brought boos from the crowd. At the entrance at the Brevard County Community College, where the rally was held, people held signs that said “Impeach Obama.”

“We need to send a message to Congress and our President that what was announced a few weeks ago was not the last word,” said Glenda Linton, the National Secretary Treasurer of the Federation of Public and Private Employees. “We are here to send a message We will keep our jobs here in the United States and not give them to the likes of Russia and China. This is about lives, schools, businesses and everything that goes along with it.”

“I want to remind the President what he said right in that building over there, that he was going to save our jobs,” said Robin Fisher a Brevard county commissioner. He encouraged everyone to contact their legislators with the following words: “We urge you to call for endorsement for Constellation for a bold direction, and extension of the shuttle. We urge you to hold up all votes until Florida is taken care of. If that stops Washington, that’s OK. We want to stop Washington. Tell your legislators to cast no votes until the President gets it, that we must set a direction that is right for the US to preserve our leadership as a world economic superpower and military leadership that can only be achieved through space exploration.”

Organizers were expecting up to 5,000 people, but cold, rainy weather may have kept some at home. Many were bundled up in coats and blankets, but held signs that said “Jobs Now” or “We Believe in Space.”

Rally in Titusville, FL. Image credit: Alan Walters, awaltersphoto.com. Used by permission

The Save Our Space group is organizing a video message campaign to send to members of Congress that will tell the personal stories of what will happen with the projected job losses, which could reach upwards 20,000, according to some sources. “Your face is the only one that can tell your story,” one speaker said.

“This is a time to build, a time to be innovative, a time to keep people working in the jobs they were trained to do,” he continued. “We are here today on this raining, cloudy and misty day to remind our leaders in Congress that this community is worth fighting for and these jobs are worth holding onto. We are not here to lay blame on anyone but to value the pride of this community and the work that we do in it. This is an example that we are willing to do to whatever we can to save our community and save our jobs.”

Rally in Titusville, FL. Image credit: Alan Walters, awaltersphoto.com. Used by permission

“This isn’t a crisis for just NASA workers, or union members,” said Executive Vice President of AFL/CIO Arleen Holt Baker. “This is a crisis of an entire community, and there are millions of brothers and sisters across America that are standing shoulder to shoulder with you, and they share your anger at the short-sighted decisions that are short changing your future. ”

16 Replies to “KSC Workers Rally to Continue Constellation and Extend Shuttle”

  1. Don’t they understand we can’t continue the shuttle, there would be no reason to except to keep their jobs.

  2. Why can’t we continue with the shuttle? Technically the shuttle should be in it’s prime right now. It’s not the shuttle of 1980. Many technological improvements have been made over the years, and the craft we have now should be viable throughout the rest of this decade.

    There’s no reason to shut it down. Some politicians are just incredibly shortsighted when it comes to the benefits of the manned space program. If it weren’t for NASA we likely would not be having this discussion on the Internet to begin with. Microprocessor development owes a lot of it’s leaps and gains to the space program.

    I hope the politicians do not ignore this rally. The Russians already smell blood in the water, and have doubled their normal rates for use of the Soyuz which is an absolute deathtrap in comparison to the Shuttle’s record.

  3. Economic superpower? Eh?
    The whole American economy is in utter shambles, the national government debt is having problem even paying the interest on its loans, the poverty line increasing at an alarming rate, the health care system tethers on knife edge for those who can’t afford insurance‚Ķ and yet the average American is still amazingly dreaming of the halcyon days of glory!

    Get you whole house in order. Your economics is what is causing the most damage – even beyond your shores.

    Right now, especially, is an unrealistic time to chase new dreams. If you don’t, you won’t have any jobs or a community to save.

  4. You can not continue with the Shuttle, because of about 3-5 G$/year missing in the budget.
    Shuttle hardware is for sale, buy it, not so expensive.

    Shuttle was killed in 2006, i think, bit late now.

    If United Space Alliance can operate in a non cost-plus environment, there might be options, but it’s their money.

    A reminder:

  5. Like erthx said. Plus it’s not getting us anywhere besides LEO, where’s the innovation in that?

  6. Save the Shuttles? What for? Having come to the end of their lives, the Shuttles had only one destination, the ISS.
    1)The Shuttles are no longer needed to construct the ISS as that is all but complete.
    2)The H-2 (JAXA), Progress (Russian) and Jules Verne (ESA) freighters are each cheaper options for running supplies to the ISS than the Shuttle fleet. The Falcon 9 (SpaceX USA) will eventually enter this market as well.
    3)The Soyuz (Russian) is a reliable and more cost effective people mover for swapping ISS crews.

    The the previous NASA Administrator was correct in deciding to retire the Shuttles in 2010 because NASA has lots of other missions to fulfil under the Space Act and is not simply an employment agency for those working on the Shuttle programme.

    It may be sad to see the Shuttles decommissioned, but it was also sad to witness the death of science missions like the Terrestrial Planet Finder because the Shuttles were sucking up so much of NASA’s budget.

    And speaking of sucking up, local politicians are simply exploiting the inevitable Shuttle retirements to portray themselves as caring and so attract votes. Let the Shuttles die a dignified peaceful death, They have earned it.

  7. “Right now, especially, is an unrealistic time to chase new dreams”

    We tried this before when they killed Apollo… the result was we lost our future while not doing much of a damn thing to fix the world. It was a horrible failure of vision to convince ourselves that we couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time as a nation.

    The problem is not the shuttles retirement or Constellations replacement. Its that they aimed to take out both programs and the VSE without having a clue as to what we should do next. With a spaceflight gap looming their new plan is to think a bit and come up with a new plan.

    This is spaceflight we’re talking about. Everyone has an idea as to where we should go and what we should do… everyone except the people in this administration?

    There’s a serious warning sign for you.

  8. Constellation is not cheap but at least the money stays in the US and US people have a job. And new technology is developed usable for patents.

    What is happening now is that US tax payers will help Russian engineers have a job. The Russians will increase their prices, no new technology is being developed and the US loses most knowledge of space travel and fewer children will be interested in science and technology.

    What Obama proposes is exactly the same thing as outsourcing to India.

  9. Also note that politicians like to promise things they do not keep. They promise more money for NASA but there is no guarantee that NASA will ever get it. Next year they might decide that NASA does not get the additional money.

  10. Finally somebody is standing up to Obama’s shortsighted plans, during his campaign I actually believed him when he said he cared about science…how naiive was I.

  11. These protest highlight one of the major problems in NASA. Private companies don’t have the luxury of operating as quasi-employment agencies. Hopefully companies such as SpaceX can keep costs down for the low Earth orbit ferry rides. I would rather see NASA’s budget be pooled into scientific projects anyway.

    Maybe the Terrestrial Planet Finder can be revisited someday soon.

  12. Mr. Man and Olaf….My ‘job’ went offshore 10 years ago and had NOTHING to do with President Obama.

    The ‘globalization’ of the world’s economy has been a complete ‘shake down’ of American Industry and Economic structure… Yet the rest of the world is rising up! but at what cost? to whom? who pays for it? and who profits the most from it? DEFINITELY not the USA…

  13. Fire the union workers, and hire people who are non-union. Unions destroyed manufacturing, they destroyed the auto industry, the make the worst government workers. Never a good move to hire union membes.

  14. Just another promise President Obama made, and isn’t going through with.

    Cancelling the programs goes beyond just affecting NASA. So many technological breakthroughs have been created by the manned space program which benefits everybody. Which in-turn creates new manufacturing and jobs.

    In short… NASA makes money for the country in the long run. Unfortunately, the Democrats are dying to pursue an expensive total health care package because 4% of the country doesn’t have any insurance; and half of the 4% could… they just choose not to.

    So many forgot what President Kennedy said,, ” Don’t ask what your country can do for you, instead ask what you can do for your country”.

  15. The one positive development with the shuttle program was in developing the technical skills for depolying and servicing complex instrumentation in space. The Hubble service missions were a plus for the program. Yet, without programs to place other instrumentation in space these technologies and skills are being wasted as it is. Using the shuttle as a ferry boat to and from a completed ISS can only amount to pork barrel spending.


  16. We need to devolope the Constellation program and go forward and keep using the shuttle till that time,we need to move on to the moon and mars, we need hero’s for our kids and to encourage them we are the best and not be dependnet on the russians or anyone else.

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