Spacelift Washington: Republican Platform; Florida and Space; Alaskan Launch Delays

By frank_sietzen
August 4, 2000
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Spacelift Washington

Spacelift Washingon Archive


  • Republicans add Pro-Space Plank to Convention Platform

  • Florida gives Space Industry Tax Help

  • Alaskan Liftoff Delayed

Republicans add Pro-Space Plank to Convention Platform

WASHINGTON – AUG. 4 – Republicans added language promoting space to their 2000 National Convention Platform this week, including a claim to boosting NASA’s fortunes with stronger oversight. The move may set up a first for recent Presidential campaign history- dueling political parties supporting increases for space activities. Democrats indicated that their platform committee meeting in Los Angeles in advance of their own convention to nominate Vice President Al Gore Jr. may also insert strong, pro-space provisions.

How either party would translate the good intentions of the platform into new space policy has yet to be clear, however.

Nearly every element of the space program received raves in the GOP’s language. A section adopted unanimously by the convention delegates called for increases to space research and development efforts, improving access to space, and bolstering plans for the eventual exploration of Mars by astronauts. On Sunday July 30th former Reagan administration staffer Martin Anderson amended the space section to include language that called for a “stronger government space program” with increased oversight of NASA.

One delegate expressed criticisms of the addition, saying that “we Republicans are for less government-we should not be calling for a stronger government space program.” The delegate also added that too much money was being spent on government space efforts. But space supporting delegates quickly hailed Anderson’s amended language. Three delegates expressed support, with one saying “we need to strengthen our national space program to improve our competitiveness around the world.” The addition was approved easily. The discussion on the space amendment was broadcast by C-SPAN Sunday during its coverage of the GOP Presidential nominating convention.

But while Republicans called for a stronger space program and advanced space goals, their primary space emphasis remained in the commercial space area. The party said it looked upon space programs as a “growing economic resource.”

Florida Boosts Space Industry

While Republican delegates nominated Texas Governor George W. Bush for the Presidency, Bush’s younger brother Florida Governor Jeb Bush approved legislation boosting that state’s space industry. Space-related businesses will be eligible for state tax exemptions under the Bush plan. The exemptions would be used for space flight property leasing and for the purchase of new equipment, machinery that would be used for space technology products and research programs.

The lease tax exemption took effect in Florida July 1st. It exempts firms from the state’s six percent sales tax when the property is used for space manufacturing, processing of space payloads, launch vehicles, or other space hardware or systems. The provisions exempting the purchases of space hardware take effect next January 1st. Companies planning to establish or expand space industry manufacturing would be able to exempt 25 percent of their state sales taxes on qualified purchases of space machinery.

Alaskan Liftoff Delayed

Kodiak Island Spaceport chief Pat Ladner tells us that the first orbital launch of a booster from Alaska, set for September, has been delayed until next July and possibly longer. The Athena launch vehicle was to orbit a NASA vegetation-study Lidar satellite. But problems with the satellite have put the flight off to late next year-if then. Troubles with the cost overruns on the satellite now threaten to cancel the project, according to a story in this weeks’ Space News newspaper.

Correction: In last week’s column we said that Texas Rep. Ralph Hall had been elected to 20 terms in Congress and had followed former Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn. While Hall did follow Rayburn, it was nearly two decades after the Speaker had died. And Hall had been elected for 20 years not 20 times, as we misstated. We apologize for the error.

SPACELIFT WASHINGTON © 2000 by Aerospace FYI Inc. A Frank Sietzen, Jr. Company. All rights reserved. Reproduction allowed with permission. The views and news contained in this column are the author’s own and not affiliated with any other society, organization, or entity. Publication does not constitute endorsement of either editorial content or sponsoring web site.

Have a tip on news concerning space transportation? Email the author at sietzen@erols.com