Bush to attend Discovery’s launch

by Chris Bergin

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush – brother of US president George W. Bush – will be in attendance along with an estimated 500,000 people for the launch of Shuttle Discovery today.

Bush will be accompanied by Lt. Gov Toni Jennings – the Florida Commission on the Future of Space and Aeronautics – for a meeting with NASA head Mike Griffin after the launch, with the future of the Kennedy Space Center – and its role after the Shuttle fleet is retired in 2010 – to be discussed.

Bush, happy to be talking about something other than Hurricanes which are plighting the local area over the past week, said: “It’s a big morale booster for thousands and thousands of NASA and space contractor employees,” Bush said. “I mean this is a big exciting day.

“New administrator, new vision for space – which creates some trepidation and angst for people but I think its clearly the right way to go – and this launch, all.”

Discovery’s launch will kick off the final mandate of Shuttle missions – currently numbered to be 28, although Griffin has already said that will be reduced – before NASA moves to the new Crew Exploration Vehicle. How much involvement KSC will have with the CEV is still to be determined.

“We’re going to try to elevate our role in all of this with this commission and the recommendations which we’re going to take very seriously,” he added. “So it’s a very big day tomorrow.”

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