Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Roundup: What's Next for U.S. in Space?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Roundup: What's Next for U.S. in Space?

Article excerpt

It is with great sadness that Floridians mark the end of the space shuttle era.

It's not just nostalgia. About 7,000 jobs will be lost on the Space Coast.

While it's appropriate to look back at the history of manned space travel, it's more important for the state to look ahead.

Frankly, none of the plans have captured the imagination - certainly not in ways that can justify the huge costs involved in space travel.

Paul Hill, NASA flight director for the space shuttle, was quoted in Stars and Stripes as saying, "there's nothing to replace it."

Florida leaders, led by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, counter that there are plans.

- Commercial space flight at Kennedy Space Center.

- Development of a new, heavy-lift rocket to take astronauts someplace - perhaps to set up a station on the moon, a trip to orbit Mars or a closer trip to an asteroid.

The shuttle turned out to be more expensive and dangerous than anyone expected.

Those plans face America's new budget woes. Space advocates will have to explain why new generations of robots cannot produce most of the explorations that humans can do.

Meanwhile, Americans will be ferried to the space station on an old Russian rocket.

The space race has definitely ended.

But the impact on Florida's economy will not. This state must continue to explore new opportunities connected with space, both as commercial ventures, as research ventures and for the nation's next deep space exploration.

A new generation must find a vision that Americans can support and - importantly - are willing to pay for.


A great deal has been written on the alleged guilt or innocence of Casey Anthony.

The jury said she was not guilty. And after many weeks of public service, the verdict should be respected, as the prosecutors have done.

But there are two additional issues that deserve comment.

First, the trial showed the usefulness of cameras in the courtroom.

For those willing and able to devote time to it, the trial was a fascinating glimpse into the justice system.

The prosecution had to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and the jurors obviously felt that the case was not made. …

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