NASA strategy could benefit Wallops
Perhaps the most eye-opening recommendation is that NASA use private companies to launch people into low-Earth orbit so the agency can focus on developing long-range plans to explore the moon and beyond.
The strategy could benefit Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where state leaders have invested millions of dollars in infrastructure and incentives to help build the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island. NASA has launched rockets from Wallops since 1945.
“There is that possibility,” said Douglas Dwoyer, a retired Langley administrator and current board member of the Hampton-based NASA Aeronautics Support Team.
Other states are looking to get into the action, particularly Florida, which is hailed as an industry leader. That state could lose up to 6,500 jobs when NASA retires the space shuttle, which could happen as early as next year.
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(Editor’s Note: One of the Augustine Commissions recommendations is for NASA to hold a competition for commercial transport to Earth orbit. If that is done, Orbital Sciences Corporation says that it will propose a human-rated version of its Cygnus freighter, which it is already developing for NASA under the COTS program. Cygnus spacecraft will be launched aboard Taurus-II rockets from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virgnia.)