Today, the Colorado Congressional Delegation highlighted the President's decision to move forward with a modified Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle project which is being built primarily in Jefferson County, Colorado. This project is important to the state of Colorado and provides about 4,000 jobs in the Denver area through Lockheed Martin and other aerospace contractors. The program supports scores of large and small businesses and brings billions of dollars to our state.
In response to the President's address about the future of NASA and the Constellation and ORION projects, the members of the Colorado Congressional Delegation issued the following statements:
Senator Mark Udall commented, "As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the former chairman of the House Space Subcommittee, I know that access to space is critical to our national security, and that Orion is a vital part of that mission. The Colorado delegation fought hard to ensure NASA and the President understood that - and I'm very pleased that the White House listened. The restructuring of Orion is positive news for Colorado, the workers who build the Orion space capsule, and our nation's leadership in space."
Senator Michael Bennet said, "The continuation of the Orion program is great news for the country and for our state. Senator Udall and I told NASA Administrator General Charlie Bolden it made little sense to cut this program when we met with him, and we are grateful that he and the administration listened and reconsidered. As President Obama lays out his plans for the future of our country's space program, I look forward to working with NASA and the administration to ensure that Colorado remains a leader in the aerospace industry and that high-paying Colorado aerospace jobs are created, not lost, during this tough economic downturn."
Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-01) noted, "We should aggressively challenge new frontiers and reaffirm U.S. leadership in space. Colorado benefits from the President's commitment to aerospace technology and science. Additional support for maintaining NASA-related jobs in Colorado is critical to our economy today, and to our competitive edge in the decades ahead. "
Rep. John Salazar (CO-03) said, "I am encouraged by President Obama's decision to move forward with Orion. Not only does this program create jobs for hard-working Coloradans, space exploration has provided some of our greatest advancements in science, engineering, technology and medicine for the benefit of all mankind. The benefits of space exploration go far beyond research. They are critical to everyone from the rancher who needs accurate weather readings to doctors who rely on state-of-the-art lifesaving technology. While it is important that we look for cost efficient ways to maintain our manned space flight, it is important that we preserve the American jobs and invention that come out of America's Space Program."
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) stated, "The Orion program continues to perform exceptionally well, within cost and schedule. I am proud of the coordinated effort we were able to put into saving the ORION. "No" was not an option. It is too important that Colorado maintain its position as a center for the development of cutting-edge aerospace technology. I am pleased we saved Orion, and I believe it deserves a larger role in space exploration. I look forward to continuing that discussion as we move forward."
Rep. Lamborn said, "For 230 years Americans have sensed that our nation is exceptional and plays a leadership role in the world. That exceptionalism is symbolized by NASA's innovation and leadership over the last 60 years. Leadership in space is closely tied to excellence in many technologies that drive innovation in materials science, energy, and national security. NASA's accomplishments are a superb example of this."
Rep. Betsy Markey (CO-04) stated, "I'm glad that the President has decided to keep the Orion program alive and thousands of aerospace jobs in Colorado," said Rep. Markey. "Redesigning the project makes good economic sense and saves jobs in our state as we work our way out of this recession."
Rep. Jared Polis (CO-02) said, "Colorado has long history of leadership in the Aerospace industry. With the President's renewed dedication to NASA's study of earth sciences, research institutions such as NOAA, the University of Colorado, Ball Aerospace, and the Center for Space Entrepreneurship¬--which call Colorado's second congressional district home¬--will be on the front lines of research that helps us understand our planet better and will ensure Colorado's leadership in Aerospace far into the future."
Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-06) stated, "I was deeply troubled by the President's initial decision to cancel the Constellation program and the corresponding loss of jobs in Colorado. Today's news is a welcome reversal of that strategic error. America's space program has long been an engine of innovation for our economy and a source of great paying jobs here in Colorado. I have always been an ardent supporter of Colorado's space industry and I look forward to continuing the fight to preserve America's space leadership well into the 21st century."