— CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Troubled NASA leaders say Wednesday's scheduled vote in the House could clarify the space agency's future and save 2,500 immediate high-tech jobs.
Those concerned are hopeful that House lawmakers will approve the NASA authorization bill already approved by the Senate.
"For the sake of providing certainty, stability and clarity to the NASA work force and larger space community, I felt it was better to consider a flawed bill than no bill at all," said Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee that oversees NASA policy.
The Senate's NASA plan calls for building an early heavy lift rocket, which insiders say is a win-win because it does several critical, strategic things for the future of human spaceflight:
At this point the Senate's plan would retain a seasoned, well-trained launch team instead of seeing this highly skilled workforce relocate to other high-tech fields.
The House authorization vote is expected to come Wednesday afternoon or evening. Because of the special rules that govern the vote, a two-thirds majority is required for approval. A separate NASA appropriations bill is likely to be considered after the November elections.