Today I had the pleasure of visiting Rocket City during the rollout of President Obama’s FY2013 budget. The Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. has had that name for many years, and it’s no wonder. The rockets powering Americans to the moon were built and test fired there. The space shuttle Enterprise rattled the center’s dynamic test stand to undergo essential structural tests before the space shuttle’s first flight. And now Marshall will help launch us farther into space than we’ve ever gone before, ushering in the next great era of exploration.
The president has presented a $17.7 billion budget for NASA – which allows for a vital and stable space program across the full spectrum of NASA’s work. It is a budget that allows us to reach for new heights, while creating jobs right here on Earth.
Like all of NASA’s centers, Marshall is involved in many aspects of NASA’s mission. It manages ISS science operations and technology development projects that will be essential to our next accomplishments in space. The Center designs, develops, integrates, tests, and fields the full range of human and robotic systems for space exploration.
Marshall will play a key role in our efforts to reach deep space, as it is where the Space Launch System, our deep space rocket to carry astronauts and the Orion crew vehicle to destinations like asteroids and Mars, will be designed and tested.
NASA’s future is based on innovation, and Marshall will be bringing its expertise to bear on some of the cutting edge challenges of our next missions. Working on things like large, composite cryogenic propellant tanks, technology demonstration missions and management of the Centennial Challenges, which continues to harness the inventiveness and entrepreneurial spirit of scientists and engineers across the globe to help us develop the capabilities we’ll need to go farther into the solar system.
So it was an honor to share the day with my colleagues at Marshall and hear from the center’s workforce. Every day they’re making tomorrow’s space program happen. Launching right from Alabama to the stars.
The NASA budget and supporting information are available at: