You’re probably read all about it by now. The White House has slashed the Ares/Constellation program from the budget. Is this the end of our dream to return to the Moon? What does this mean for the future of manned space flight?
I live in Orlando, a scant 35 miles from the Kennedy Space Center. I can tell you this – the repercussions of this budget and program cut are a massive blow to the local economy and job market. In the short term, our local job market will be flooded with people looking for jobs. I know a few people employed in the various companies that do work for NASA, as well as people who work for NASA directly. There is a rush to find new opportunities both within NASA and outside the space program while still staying focused on the work at hand.
Many of the technical people who will be let go will flood our local technical market. In a market that is already a barren wasteland, Central Florida will very quickly over-saturate with job seekers. The non-technical market in Central Florida is not so hot either at the moment. It is definitely an employers market and it’s only going to get harder for job-seekers.
In the long-term, I support the idea of private industry blazing the trail back into space; to the Moon and beyond. As long as the government doesn’t over-regulate it. Ares/Constellation would not have been canned were it not already over budget and behind schedule. We’ve come to expect that from our space program and that has to stop.
The problem is, there are a lot of private industry companies here in Florida that could blaze the trail back into space – but they’re not ready for it either. All their money comes from the government and they are not mobilized to lead the new gold rush. It will take years for them to recover and restructure.
It will be tough to get jobs here for a while, and I feel bad for the guys who will lose their jobs. I am disappointed that this has happened. Hopefully NASA can refocus and rely on private industry rockets.
What I am really waiting for is for civilian companies to launch their own craft into space without any government astronauts and very little oversight. When that day comes, it will usher in a new age of spaceflight and exploration.