Association: Budget cuts biggest challenge for space program

HANCOCK COUNTY — As negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff heat up, little attention has been paid to the impact that mandatory budget cuts would have on the nation’s civil space program and our ability to accurately forecast dangerous storms, according to a release from the Aerospace Industries Association.

A new economic impact analysis concludes that over 20,000 NASA contractor jobs and over 2,500 NOAA jobs related to weather satellites could be lost in 2013 if the Budget Control Act’s sequestration mandate takes effect on Jan. 2, the Association says.

“This report demonstrates that the biggest single threat to our space programs’ continued success are arbitrary and capricious budget cuts,” said AIA president and CEO Marion C. Blakey. “NASA and NOAA are responsible for cutting edge activities that expand the boundaries of knowledge and discovery, lead to economic innovation and save lives. We can’t afford not to invest in these sources of American scientific and technological greatness.”

Dr. Stephen S. Fuller, Dwight Schar Faculty Chair and University Professor and Director for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, conducted the study on behalf of the AIA.

Fuller’s analysis found that in addition to threatening the jobs of many of the scientists, engineers and technicians that design, manufacture and operate our nation’s spacecraft, sequestration would also deal major damage to those regions of the country with high concentrations of aerospace activity, better known as industry clusters.

Impacted “clusters” in the study include those in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
The report is available at www.secondtonone.org and at www.aia-aerospace.org/economics/reports_white_papers/.

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