NASA's Orion Program In Colorado Set To Close; Colorado Politicians Appeal To Obama

06/12/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Colorado officials were up in arms Monday over proposed budget cuts that would shut down NASA's Orion project at the Lockheed Martin campus in Jefferson County that could cost the state thousands of jobs.

The Orion program, which is run by Lockheed Martin from its Jefferson County campus, builds passenger capsules as part of the Constellation space travel program.

Funding for the program was cut for the 2011 federal budget as a part of the Obama administration's overhaul of NASA.

According to the AP, the program employs about 4,000 Coloradans.

Senators Mark Udall, Michael Bennet and Governor Bill Ritter, both Democrats, released letters to Obama Monday in which they urged the President to reconsider the cuts. Ritter said that cutting the Orion program would result in "devastating job losses," while Udall (who met with NASA administrators on Monday) and Bennet expressed skepticism that the NASA budget's emphasis on contacts for what the senators referred to as "unproven commercial providers" at the expense of proven companies like Lockheed Martin.

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