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Federal Eye: Eye Opener: Obama to discuss NASA's future

Happy Monday! President Obama will head to Florida next month to host a conference on the future of American space exploration and
defend his plans to revamp the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration.

The president wants to give NASA an extra $6 billion over the next five years and abandon plans to return to the moon by 2020. The
government would then help pay for the private construction of
spaceships to ferry astronauts to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Those budget proposals have earned strong bipartisan opposition from lawmakers in Alabama, Florida and Texas -- where most of the space
industry is based -- and from self-described Congressional space geeks.

Florida officials, fully aware of their swing state status, estimate that more than 9,000 jobs could be lost with the Obama administration's proposed changes and the planned 2011 retirement of the Space shuttle program.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) has been especially outspoken, telling Obama advisers on Friday that the administration's NASA plans
are a "mistake." He also asked for an additional shuttle flight to the
final four missions already planned, called for a mission to Mars and
assurances that NASA will build the next big space vehicle to transport
astronauts.

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