The Space Frontier Foundation called Wednesday’s announcement by NASA that it will attempt to build Congress’s giant monster rocket a disaster that will devour our dreams for moving humanity into space. Rather than breathing life into a dying space program, it may well kill new initiatives to greatly expand US space exploration and settlement efforts.
“It is a sad day for our space program,” said Rick Tumlinson, co-founder of the Foundation. “The amazing possibilities offered by engaging commercial space to lower costs and develop a sustainable long term infrastructure to support NASA space exploration, settlement and a new space industry have been trumped by the greed, parochialism, and lack of vision of a few congressional pork barrelers intent once again on building a government super rocket. We’ve been to this party before, it was a bust then, and it will be this time as well.”
The rocket, known as the Senate Launch System by most of the space community, was formally announced in the very building where it was conceived – the U.S. Senate’s Dirksen office building. Not surprisingly, Senators and Congressmen proudly spoke of their contribution to this Frankenstein monstrosity, stitched together from various pieces of pork for congressional districts that have been working the system for months.
“Senator Nelson called the SLS a monster rocket and he’s right,” explained Bob Werb, co-founder and chairman of the board for Space Frontier Foundation. “Although they’re trying to dress it up in the colors of the Saturn V, it’s a Frankenstein rocket, built from rotting remnants of left over Congressional pork. And its budgetary footprints will stamp out all the missions it is supposed to carry, kill our astronaut program and destroy science and technology projects throughout NASA.“
The Foundation is certain that much like Constellation before it, the Senate Launch System will never stay within its budget or schedule, and in the end will be cancelled. SLS will become the most cannibalistic program in NASA’s history, consuming innovative programs attempting to lower costs by using commercial firms to fly astronauts into space, new technologies that would make exploration more affordable, and of course the payloads the new rocket is supposed to carry.
“The Senate’s new Franken-rocket will fail, it will waste billions, it will never fly and it will destroy what little credibility our space program has left.” said Foundation Executive Director Will Watson, “It is an un-American solution to a challenge we can solve in an American way with our own commercial space flight companies. If it is not stopped the SLS monster will be a death sentence for NASA’s once great human space flight program.”