July 26, 2002

The Honorable Bob Graham

U.S. Senator


Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Bill Nelson

U.S. Senator


Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Senator Graham and Senator Nelson,

I was very disappointed to discover that the Senate’s FY 2003 VA-HUD Independent Agencies appropriation bill contains language that acknowledges Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) as the “launch and recovery site for next generation launch vehicles” and directs Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to utilize WFF “as a site for testing and demonstration of new launch vehicles and technology development.”

I think you would agree with me that this is unacceptable. Kennedy Space Center has been and will continue to be the nation’s leading civil space launch site. WFF is capable of handling small launch vehicles at best. The costs involved with outfitting WFF to handle a next generation launch vehicle would be quite sizeable. All while NASA’s budget is limited and facilities at KSC are allowed to crumble and deteriorate.

Additionally, any potential military utilization of next generation launch vehicles are greatly aided by KSC’s close proximity to Patrick Air Force Base (PAFB) and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). If this new vehicle were located at WFF, there is not nearly the military space capabilities nearby with the level of competency we already have in Florida.

I urge you to take action to remove this anti-Florida language. You can be sure I will do all I can to assist you in this effort and prevent it from becoming law.


Dave Weldon, M.D.

Member of Congress

Cc: Jeb Bush; Governor

Sean O’Keefe; Administrator of NASA

Roy Bridges; Center Director of KSC

Brig. General John Gregory Pavlovich; Wing Commander for the 45th Space Wing

Ed Gormel; Director of the Florida Space Authority

Art Stephenson; Center Director of MSFC