Mikulski: Wallops Becoming the Southwest Airlines of Space

Launch complexes on Wallops Island, Virginia

Here’s an interesting quote from Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski which was included in a press release issued after Gov. Martin O’Malley toured the Wallops Flight Facility on Monday.

“Wallops Island Flight Facility is home to American innovation. I fought to keep jobs at the Wallops Flight Facility and I will continue to fight to create the jobs of the future. Today we can see our investment in innovation is paying off, as Wallops becomes the Southwest Airlines of space: a lower cost, safer way to launch.”

The full press release after the break.

OFFICE OF MARYLAND GOV. MARTIN O’MALLEY
Press Release – Aug. 23, 2010

Governor Martin O’Malley today toured the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, one of the oldest launch sites in the world. NASA and other organizations at Wallops, including the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, employ approximately 1,800 people, including government, military and contractor personnel — nearly 700 of which are held by Marylanders. During his visit, Governor O’Malley toured NASA’s Range Control Center and the NASA and MARS rocket launch pads and observed the U.S. Navy Surface Combat Systems Center.

“Maryland’s space industry has been, in many ways, an unsung economic hero for our State, and it is an important part of our strategy for growing Maryland’s high-tech sector. Nearly $1.6 billion flow to Maryland businesses from NASA contracts each year, and nearly 55 cents of every dollar of Goddard Space Flight Center contract dollars are spent in our State,” said Governor O’Malley. “NASA alone employs 10,000 including contractors in our State, and thousands of additional Marylanders are employed in space enterprises related to work with NOAA, the US Geological Survey and many of our national security agencies which we are so fortunate to have in Maryland. Marylanders who work in our space industry are playing key roles in things ranging from helping us understand and combat global climate change, to bolstering our country’s national security. We are uniquely positioned to continue and expand our leadership in the space industry.”

“We appreciate the visit today by Governor O’Malley to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility,” said William Wrobel, director of Wallops. “The support provided by Maryland to NASA, academia, industry and other government agencies is integral in furthering our understanding of our planet and the universe in which we live.”

In June of this year, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center awarded the NASA Wallops Flight Facility Range Operations Contract to LJT & Associates, Inc., an engineering firm based in Columbia, Maryland. The contract runs for five years and is valued at approximately $117 Million. The company will provide support services to manage the Wallops Research Range operations and maintenance; training; command, control, and communications information; and computer systems services.

“Wallops Island Flight Facility is home to American innovation,” said U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski. “I fought to keep jobs at the Wallops Flight Facility and I will continue to fight to create the jobs of the future. Today we can see our investment in innovation is paying off, as Wallops becomes the Southwest Airlines of space: a lower cost, safer way to launch.”

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility, located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, was established in 1945 by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, as a center for aeronautic research. Wallops is now NASA’s principal facility for management and implementation of suborbital research programs. The research and responsibilities of Wallops Flight Facility are centered around the philosophy of providing a fast, low cost, highly flexible and safe response to meet the needs of the United States’ aerospace technology interests and science research.