July 29, 2002

The Honorable Dave Weldon

332 Cannon House Office Building

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Representative Weldon:

Your letter of July 26 expressed concern that the committee report accompanying the Senate’s VA-HUD and Independent Agencies appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2003 contains language that could be detrimental to Florida’s space installations.

The language in question largely reiterates existing NASA policies. Wallops Flight Facility already handles small scientific payloads, and has an existing relationship with Marshall Space Flight Center to test components that could be used in next-generation launch vehicles.

We have talked with Senator Mikulski, who chairs the VA-HUD appropriations subcommittee, and are assured this language merely confirms Wallops’ traditional role as a NASA flight center. Furthermore, it is not intended to move any existing work from Kennedy Space Center, or challenge its traditional role as the primary launch site for human space flight, including in any successor program to the Space Shuttle. Senator Mikulski has even offered to put these assurances in writing.

We have the utmost confidence in KSC’s ability to continue to dominate the field of human space flight. And it goes without saying that we would vigorously oppose any attempt to change that role. Still, we will seek clarifying language in the VA-HUD appropriations conference report to ensure that the true intent of this language is on record.


Bill Nelson              Bob Graham