LaTourette, a Bainbridge Township Republican, has asked U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a Cleveland Democrat, to help circulate a letter to members of the Ohio delegation to oppose the Senate version of the bill, arguing the House version is more protective of NASA Glenn and Plum Brook Station research and jobs.
The letter is circulating now. S. 3729 will be voted on in the House late Wednesday.
The Senate version of the bill is opposed by the Greater Cleveland Partnership and former NASA administrator Mike Griffin.
The former NASA head yesterday urged House members to oppose the bill, calling it a "poor authorization bill."
Griffin added: "....it is time once again to ask ourselves whether we want to have a real space program, or not. If we do, then the Senate Bill won't get us there."
LaTourette said he cannot in good conscience support the Senate bill because it will lead to job losses at NASA Glenn and will reduce its funding for research.
It will also force NASA to be completely dependent on the commercial sector for crew and cargo transportation to the International Space Station (ISS).
"This Administration seems to believe our astronauts will soon be able to catch a ride on a private sector rocket to the space station, but no such vehicle exists. Under this bill, we'll be dependent on Russia or China to get our astronauts to the space station, threatening our national security," LaTourette said.
Hitching a ride will not be cheap, LaTourette added, noting that NASA in April signed a contract to pay nearly $56 million per astronaut for six Americans to fly to the space station on a Russian rocket in 2013-2014.
Each astronaut will be able to bring just 110 pounds of cargo, and can return with just 37 pounds of cargo, plus trash.
LaTourette said it will be a sad day for NASA if S. 3729 passes.
"This is a bad bill, and I will not hold my nose and vote for it. You can't be a supporter of NASA, manned space travel and NASA Glenn and support this Senate-authored bill," LaTourette said.
Part of the letter details the specific job losses in Northeast Ohio.
"...We believe the House compromise bill has substantial benefits to the Glenn Research Center (NASA Glenn) and Plum Brook Station, and that the bill is the best path forward for NASA and the United States' human space flight program."
"The House Authorization contains a rededication of significant resources toward aeronautics and space research and development (R&D) programs that is critical for sustaining in-house intellectual competencies necessary for future mission success and for developing a fiscally realistic and sustainable, yet ambitious human space flight program."
"The Space Technology account is funded at $600 million for FY2011 and over $1 billion for FY2012 and FY2013, providing research centers like NASA Glenn with the necessary resources to perform more R&D research that is critical for development of next generation technologies to support future key NASA missions over the next decade such as Solar-Electric Propulsion and High Efficiency Space Power Systems."
"Furthermore, we believe NASA Glenn could play an important leadership role in the new Exploration Technology Development (EDT). The House bill allocates a total of $1.19 billion to EDT with $300 million for FY2011, $437 million for FY2012 and $449 million in FY2013. Although EDT has not been assigned to a NASA Center, we believe that in the coming months with the delegation's effort, NASA Glenn has the infrastructure and expertise to operate this program like no other center."
The House Authorization bill also includes necessary workforce protections for civil servants during NASA's transition to the new programs."
"...The Senate bill, in contrast, could cause over 250 contractors to lose their jobs and up to 250 civil servants will not be used to their capacity. The State of Ohio cannot afford the loss of these jobs."