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UCF Space Expert Weighs in on Paul Ryan's Saturday Speech

Sept 24, 2012 | WMFE - Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan talked about space policy at a stump speech at the University of Central Florida Saturday. It was the first time the Romney-Ryan campaign brought up the topic on the campaign trail, and the address left UCF's resident space expert with a few questions.

[Image: An artist's rendering of a vehicle from NASA's scuttled Constellation program]

Dale Ketcham, Director of the Spaceport Research and Technology Institute at UCF, says Ryan's speech could find itself characterized as a bit short on details. And, he says, there's a possibility the proposal may cost more Space Coast jobs.

“His primary goal is to form a committee and reassess and come forward with a bold new vision in 2013 or 2014, whenever the committee issues its report,” says Ketcham. “And that’s not really what this area needs in terms of the workforce, is to plan on changing course in a year or two.”

Ketcham says the Romney-Ryan plan resembles the one President Obama implemented when he took office. Central Florida space workers were surprised when the president’s committee prompted him to scrap NASA’s Constellation program in favor of private spaceflight development, and jobs were lost in the process.

About Saturday's speech, Ketcham adds, “On the plus side, he has stepped up, provided some additional detail - not a lot, but some...[T]his community is going to be working to try to - over the next six weeks, as the campaign really heats up before Election Day - to try to draw a little more specificity out of both camps. To try and get them both competing for the space vote here on the I-4 corridor."


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