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Posted at 12:47 PM ET, 04/ 4/2010

NASA an obstacle to Va. offshore drilling?

By Washington Post Editors

Gov. Bob McDonnell's push to drill for gas and oil off Virginia's coast faces two formidable obstacles: the Navy and NASA.

Naval Station Norfolk and the space agency's Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore have activities throughout the vast leasing area 50 miles off Virginia's 132-mile Atlantic coast.

The question is: Can busy skies and seas coexist with offshore oil and gas drilling?
U.S Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he is aware of those existing Atlantic activities that could be limited by oil exploration platforms and the sea traffic to service them.

He told The Associated Press those issues will be reviewed.

--Associated Press

By Washington Post Editors  | April 4, 2010; 12:47 PM ET
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Don't use presumptions to decide this question. Use facts. How do the platforms in the Gulf of Mexico harm the space program? How high are they?

What damage do we expect?

One could call all this to be propaganda designed to keep oil scarce and expensive.

But only the facts should decide the question.

Not presumptions.

Posted by: gary4books | April 4, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Norfolk is one of the busiest US Naval bases. Home of the Atlantic Fleet. I don't think they have a "Gulf of Mexico Fleet". All rockets launched by NASA (the few that go up from Kennedy Space Flight Center or those from Wallops Island, which is NASA's busiest launch facility) are launched in a generally eastward direction, since they get a head start by launching in the same direction the earth is rotating. Occasionally, they have to blow them up shortly after launch, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere near an oil platform when a burning chunk of space debris falls on it.

Posted by: david56 | April 4, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Presumptions that oil rigs will not interfere with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Taurus-2 launches of cargo to the International Space Station should also not be made. The NASA Wallops Flight Facility and the commercial spaceport are very unique national and state assets valued into the billions. The public policy trick is to find the ways and means for proper and friendly co-existance. One does not want to drop a first stage rocket on an oil rig! The balance must be achieved. The Secretary is just being prudent and reasonable as he most certainly should be.

Posted by: jack41 | April 4, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

If this was 1923, I'd buy into the US Navy's ship argument. Back then Destroyer Squadron 11 lost: USS Nicholas (DD-311), USS S.P. Lee (DD-310), USS Delphy (DD-261), USS Young (DD-312), USS Chauncey (DD-296), USS Woodbury (DD-309) at Honda Point, CA., on September 8th.

Today's ship's of the line have somthing those ships lacked:

IR Scanning
Advanced Communications
Shall I go on????

We have come a long way since then. Billions and Billions of dollars goes into ships of the line and it seems a pretty week argument to be making against oil platforms.

I am sure that oil platforms have lights and emit a signal to let ships know where they are at.

As far as launches go, that's why launches are controlled over a specific area. I'll bet the odds are greater of getting hit by a meteorite, out on the ocean than getting hit by the launch stage or payload stage of a missile or rocket.

Next question?

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | April 4, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

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