Sunday, February 2, 2003

DeWine: NASA funding will be rexamined



By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Two members of the Tristate's congressional delegation that sit as watchdogs on NASA said Saturday that it was too early to point any fingers or to either cut or expand funding. But both said an examination of the agency will certainly ensue from the Columbia accident.

"This is a very mature program at this point," said U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, a member of the Senate subcommittee that oversees funding for NASA.

"The budget has shrunk for NASA, and I'm sure that this tragedy will cause some re-examination of where money is being spent, but it is very premature to speculate on what could happen beyond that."

DeWine, who resides in Cedarville, added that he had pushed for more than the current level of funding for NASA, but that the country is "looking at tough times and tough choices, especially when we're fighting a war on terrorism and potentially a war against Iraq."

U.S. Rep. David Hobson, R-Ohio, a member of the House subcommittee that oversees NASA's funding, said one thing that could get lost in a post-accident investigation is how risky space travel is in the first place.

"We kind of take it for granted, and while I'm no scientist, I can see that these guys have done an excellent job in making it incredibly safe," said Hobson of Springfield. "But when something like this happens, we need to go back and look and if necessary refocus on what we did wrong and how we can make it better."

Hobson said that he had not seen pressure to downsize the agency prior to the accident as had been the case following the Challenger disaster, but that he expected such calls to come.

"There may be criticisms that the agency is not what it once was and is all this worth it, but we have to try and lot let ourselves overreact, even though it is hard given this loss of human life."




(Complete Columbia coverage at Cincinnati.com)

ENQUIRER COVERAGE
Tristaters shocked, seek answers
Terrace Park man loses friend on Columbia
Tristate Jews stunned by Israeli's death
India natives offer special prayers
KIESEWETTER: Another tragedy unfolds on TV
PULFER: Flight: a routine miracle
Enquirer seeking local connections
Disaster evokes Challenger image at Wright-Pat
School superintendent's hometown in debris path
Local woman witnessed 'perfect' launch
Ohio astronaut: `Oh, my God'
List of Ohio astronauts
Space program must go on, scientists say
DeWine: NASA funding will be rexamined
Reading firm makes shuttle fuel tanks

VIDEO
Archived video & special coverage from WCPO


NATIONAL COVERAGE
Did NASA underestimate left-wing damage?
Body parts reportedly found
Columbia, crew of 7 lost
Families' pride turns to anguish
Texans saw trails in sky, heard booms
Final words: Astronauts gave no warning of disaster
Americans gasp, cry at news
Americans have taken space flights for granted
Bush consoles shuttle families, country
Text of Bush's remarks
Terrorism ruled out
Crew biographies: First Israeli aboard
Independent board to investigate
Landings were early safety concern
Challenger explosion recalled
Painful memories for teacher's hometown
Deadly accidents in space exploration
Former astronauts search for explanation
Space station crew won't be stranded
Timeline of Columbia flight
Columbia was NASA's oldest shuttle
Key dates in space program
New NASA administrator faces big task