Gov. Rick Perry issued the following statement on the final landing of NASA's Shuttle Atlantis:
"Forty-two years ago yesterday, America captured the world's imagination by putting a man on the moon, highlighting an era of excellence in space exploration. Unfortunately, with the final landing of the Shuttle Atlantis and no indication of plans for future missions, this administration has set a significantly different milestone by shutting down our nation's legacy of leadership in human spaceflight and exploration, leaving American astronauts with no alternative but to hitchhike into space.
"The Obama Administration continues to lead federal agencies and programs astray, this time forcing NASA away from its original purpose of space exploration, and ignoring its groundbreaking past and enormous future potential. It is time to restore NASA to its core purpose of manned space exploration, and to define our vision for 21st Century space exploration, not in terms of what we cannot do, but instead in terms of what we will do."
Houston is home to the Johnson Space Center (JSC), which was established in 1961 as the Manned Spacecraft Center, and renamed in honor of President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1973. JSC is home to NASA's astronaut corps, and is the principal training site for space shuttle crews and International Space Station Expedition crews from the U.S. and our space station partner nations. JSC's civil service workforce consists of about 3,000 employees, the majority of whom are professional engineers and scientists. About 50 companies provide more than 12,000 contract personnel who support operations at JSC. An estimated 4,000 contract positions will be lost due to the end of the shuttle program. JSC is currently working with its contractors to try to repurpose these positions.