Local officials and residents who will lose their Houston jobs (Click here
) if the Constellation
lunar exploration program is canceled are attempting to fight back.
Although President Barack Obama
's proposed budget includes an additional $6 billion over five years for NASA
, it calls for an end to the Constellation program. The Houston Chronicle
is reporting that Council Member Mike Sullivan
is leading an effort to convince the current administration that canceling the program would be a mistake.
The district that Sullivan represents includes the Johnson Space Center
. If the Constellation lunar exploration program is shut down, it will result in the loss of 7,000 Houston
During a recent Houston City Council
meeting, Sullivan said he would work with the local congressional delegation, the Greater Houston Partnership
and the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce
to preserve the Constellation program.
"We will have a coordinated plan moving forward," he said.
However, officials have come up with another plan that could save those jobs. That plan includes making the Houston area a base for the Mars exploration plan, which NASA Administrator Charles Bolden
recently described, saying he wants to shift the manned space effort toward the goal of sending humans safely to Mars, possibly by the 2030s.
The loss of 7,000 jobs would be a huge hit to the Houston area's economy
, which has managed to succeed during the economic downturn when compared to most other cities.
During December 2009, the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown area's unemployment rate increased from 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent, following a decrease from 8.4 percent during November. Despite the increase, the area's rate was still lower than the national unemployment rate at the time of 10 percent.
The area had a total non-farm employment of 2,535,600 workers during December, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics
. This is up from 2,532,900 workers during November, but a 3.5 percent decrease from December 2008.
Labels: Houston Jobs