NASA’s five-year, $1.9 billion plan to upgrade the Kennedy Space Center would be cut to $250 million under legislation being considered by the House. This is an 87 percent reduction from the Obama Administration’s request.
The 21st Century Launch Complex Initiative is billed as a way to upgrade the Cape’s aging infrastructure and attract commercial business that Florida has been losing to foreign countries over the last several decades. It’s also a good way to create jobs in the Sunshine State, which will be hit hard by the retirement of the space shuttle next year.
The 3-year Senate authorization bill – authored by Florida Sen. Bill Nelson – fully funds the Administration’s request for that period at $1.33 billion. The House version cuts expenditures for the upgrade down to $50 million per year over five years, for a total of $250 million.
The bills will have to be reconciled in conference in consultation with the White House and the NASA leadership.