NASA public hearing

Captain Bob Jaspers is a local fishing guide and a longtime correspondent of mine. He posted this firsthand account of the recent public hearing in Titusville regarding the NASA commercial development proposal. (reprinted with permission.)

——— Forwarded message ———-
From: Capt. Bob Jaspers <flatstime@cfl.rr.com>
Date: Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 9:24 AM
Subject: Re: [CFFA] Proposed CVLC on KSC

Monday I went to the 6:00 meeting in Titusville. There weren’t as many anglers there as I’d have liked to have seen, or CCA members, BFFA members, or CFFA members either. Not including myself, I saw two other fulltime fishing guides there. The majority were either Space Center workers or transplanted retirees from the Titusville area. I heard the earlier meeting held at 1:00 in Titusville was much smaller and less outspoken against the proposal.

The main focus from the 6:00 meeting attendees seemed to be either protecting their own interests in saving their access to the southern end of Mosquito Lagoon, or Playalinda Beach, or their duck hunting spots, or their KSC jobs. Many speakers obviously only mentioned the protection of the SR3/Black Point Drive Scrub Trail’s environment as a sort of fail-safe for their own selfish interests. To those who are concerned for their KSC jobs
because the Shuttle Program is scheduled to end in 2010, the fact is the planned Commercial Vertical Launch Site will only provide around permanent 200 jobs. (NASA’s words, not mine)

Many loudly expected NASA to force the Air Force into letting it be on their property, which is unrealistic & unreasonable. Their property does not belong to NASA and being military they obviously have no interest in having profit-minded commercial interests launching missiles from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. One complete idiot, who is a local well-known outspoken and self-described environmentalist, even mentioned that it should logically be on the south end of CCAFS near Port Canaveral due to the easy access it’d have there.

I was somewhat discouraged with the short-sighted selfishness of many of the speakers. With the exception of the spokesperson from the Audubon Society, those who spoke with obvious environmental concern unanimously mentioned over and over about protecting Site 2, with no concern for Site 1 at all.  It was disturbing. Very few who spoke realized that the other proposed site’s area, which is nearer to the beach, also has similar habitat, with all the same plants and wildlife, including the endangered scrub jays and nesting sea turtles as well, even though they were all told that at the
beginning of the presentation.

Anglers who did speak only seemed to have concern for their favorite fishing areas near Haulover and Mosquito Lagoon, and couldn’t have cared less about how putting it at the southern-most proposed site would affect other angler’s access to the Banana River No-Motor-Zone and nearshore fishing in the Canaveral Bight area.

I personally voiced my environmentally-based opinion about not wanting it at
either proposed site, or anywhere else on the refuge for that matter, because I also dislike the idea due to public safety concerns. The fact that we could soon have a solely profit-minded commercial conglomerate made up of companies like Microsoft launching ballistic missiles within 20 miles from our homes worries me greatly. The self-serving divisiveness of the crowd’s opinions worries me, but frankly speaking I wasn’t surprised.

Folks, we all better wake up and realize that either of these sites are bad for us all, and they could mean permanent closings of many areas of a National Wildlife Refuge which is meant for public use.

4 thoughts on “NASA public hearing”

  1. I’d be interested in hearing what other compelling alternative locations were offered. Supporting commercial access to space seems to be the most viable way to both increase orbital access and reduce the costs of spaceflight, with the benefits seemingly far outweighing the closure of a few beaches and fishing spots. Potential environmental damage of course is more serious, and any development will do some damage to the environment, but without actual impact assessments it’s hard to know the extent.

    Refurbishing an existing, unused launch pad, like you mentioned in an earlier post, seems quite logical — any idea why that’s out of the question? Is it all about jurisdictional issues?

    I think the writer of this post is a little off on the prospects of developed commercial spaceflight. The Air Force would love it — cheaper, more readily available access to space is a national defense issue, plain and simple. As for public safety issues, anything that launches is going to need the same FAA certification that anything NASA puts up does, and *because* they’re profit-oriented it would seem that they would be more loss-averse.

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  2. Once again, short-sighted individuals, are putting short-term economic gains ahead of long-term stability. Haven’t we caught on that when we put environmental concerns behind immediate economic needs, both the economy and the environment go down the toilet? Eventually we will run out of environment to degrade and economics won’t matter as the last humans die off in the wasteland.

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