View full sizeCLEVELAND, Ohio — A Cuyahoga County Republican Party claim that NASA plans to transfer most of Glenn Research Center‘s manned spaceflight research and development activities to other facilities is not true, space agency officials said Tuesday.
“NASA is not transferring human spaceflight research and development activities from the Glenn Research Center,” NASA press secretary Lauren B. Worley said in a written response to the GOP claim. “The Glenn Research Center always has — and always will — play a critical role in America’s leadership in space.” A local NASA Glenn spokeswoman referred all questions to the national office.
The Cuyahoga County GOP said in a news release Wednesday that cuts would be announced after the 2012 presidential election. County GOP spokesman Doug Magill said the party’s information about the potential loss of work came from several unnamed sources “inside Glenn.”
Magill said the party’s victory director, Dan Cano, a former aide to U.S. Rep. Steven LaTourette, got confirmation from “officials inside NASA,” though Cano would not name his sources. Cano “confirmed within NASA that there was a work force reduction plan of 244 people [at Glenn] that all happened to be associated with manned space flight,” Magill said. “He Cano was told it’s going to happen. It’s in the works.”
The Republican group’s news release also cited former NASA administrator Mike Griffin as a source on the layoffs.
“The fact that the Obama administration is seriously considering moving human space flight work out of Glenn is deeply troubling,” Griffin is quoted as saying. “To eliminate Glenn’s role in human space flight is to call into question its very participation in NASA’s future.”
Griffin declined to expand on that statement when reached by email.
Griffin, who served under President George W. Bush, has been critical of the direction NASA has taken under President Barack Obama, who canceled the Bush-era Constellation Program, which would have sent astronauts to the moon and later to Mars.
Obama also shifted NASA toward a more commercialized space program and has directed it to plan long-term human missions to an asteroid and possibly Mars.
Griffin and former associate NASA administrator Scott Pace — now a director of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute and chairman of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Space Policy Advisory Group — are scheduled to speak today at a $50 “Aerospace Breakfast” and $500 VIP Coffee hosted by the county GOP.
The party’s Facebook page also said that the “changes to NASA Glenn” would be discussed at the breakfast.
Earlier this year, Griffin joined Pace in signing a public statement in support of Romney’s candidacy, saying he would “restore America’s space program.”
A spokesman for Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a member of the House committee that writes the federal budget, accused the GOP of trying to create a political issue in an election year.
“A secret plan from unannounced sources sounds like something out of the National Enquirer,” said Kaptur spokesman Steve Fought.
NASA’s Worley said that Obama’s 2013 budget proposal would boost Glenn’s funding by $17 million, to $658 million, though it has not been approved by Congress. She said money for Glenn helps to support nearly 9,000 Ohio jobs.
With Plain Dealer Reporter John MangelsPresident Barack Obama, nasa glenn research center, NASA administrator Mike Griffin, Cuyahoga County Republican Party, NASA press secretary Lauren B. Worley, NASA Glenn, Glenn Research Center <BR/>
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