Friday, March 24, 2006

Lockheed eyes new Houston operations base

Just caught the Reuters story, and there is also a Chronicle/AP one. From Reuters:

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT - news) on Friday said it plans to build a 1,200-employee base of operations in Houston if it were to win a hotly contested bid to design NASA's next human space flight vehicle

The company is competing against a partnership of Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE:NOC - news) and Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA - news) to lead NASA's multibillion-dollar follow-on program to the space shuttle, called the Crew Exploration Vehicle. Proposals were due on Monday and NASA is expected to chose a contractor later this year.

The new vehicles, which are based on Apollo-like capsules launched on expendable rockets, are expected to fly to the space station by 2014 and to the moon as early as 2018.

"The godhead is here in Houston," John Karas, Lockheed's vice president of space exploration, told a teleconference press briefing.

A bit of a gradiose quote, but, of course, I like it. They mean Mayor White, right? ;-) The Partnership will have to place that quote prominently in their next round of marketing materials for the city...


At 11:45 AM, March 25, 2006, Blogger Max Concrete said...

It would be great if Lockheed could win the contract and bring the program to Houston. Still, I don't really see it as the kind of jobs that build a solid future for Houston. I think the program of returning to the moon is a case of federal spending run amok since there is practically no scientific, technical or political merit for returning to the moon. It's being sold as a stepping-stone to Mars, but with massive federal budget deficits and the imminent retirement of baby-boomers (with huge costs) the probability of funding a Mars mission is slim.

Overall, I see the new program as something to justify the existence of NASA's manned program (ie perpetuate a government bureaucracy). How long this can be sustained is questionable. (Think super-conducting super-collider.) Sure, it would be good for Houston, but it could be here today, gone tomorrow when political winds shift.

As for Mayor White and the godhead, well, that's some imagery I'll need to get use to.


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