Long Island Space Society - Projects

From left to right, Marcelo Vazquez, Felix Grucci, and Arthur Smith
photo by Michael Lesquadro

Tuesday August 13, 2002: Meeting with Representative Grucci

Our visit with Representative Grucci was prompted by Arthur Smith contacting local staff member Sandy Alvaro by email, explaining some of the goals of the National Space Society, our interest in H.R. 4742, and in talking with the Congressman about the local connections and interest in space. Arthur was somewhat surprised when Sandy responded almost immediately with an appointment scheduled for just a week away!

It turned out that we had triggered an interest in local staffer Mike Lesquadro, and in Grucci's Washington Chief of Staff Jesse Garcia. Mike met with us for a few minutes beforehand, and stayed through the meeting contributing his thoughts and enthusiasm about space exploration and development. He had worked at Grumman on the Lunar Module up through Apollo 13, and somewhat later had worked at Brookhaven in the computing division, and so was familiar with both the research and business sides of space on Long Island.

We pretty much followed the agenda (the above list), with a few asides. Marcelo did an excellent job covering his research, including down-to-earth applications when Grucci asked about that. Mike spontaneously suggested a "Felix Grucci spaceport" for the Grumman site in Calverton - something we hadn't mentioned, but which we had privately discussed (without the name) as a long-term future goal. Arthur made the point that all the big states have spaceports or major space facilities (California, Florida, Texas), except New York. Maybe a Long Island spaceport isn't such a farfetched idea?

Grucci asked us near the end what we would like him to do. Arthur asked for him to seriously consider co-sponsoring H.R. 4742. Marcelo mentioned it would help his work by providing an extra area within NASA to apply for funding for research into the effects of long-term spaceflight. BNL's radiation testing facility is unique in the country, perhaps in the world, and should attract some good research under this. He agreed to look at it; it seemed he might sign on if it didn't conflict with other legislation he was working on. And we both asked that he keep in mind that Long Island has a significant connection with the space program, and there are real opportunities to develop it further in both research funding and growing local business.

Altogether it seemed a very auspicious visit; as we develop our local plans it looks like we may have a strong supporter in Congress!

Last Modified: 15 August 2002