Study Endorses Senate Launch System as Affordable Near-Term Pork
The Space Frontier Foundation today agreed with U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and Richard Shelby in their claim that Booz Allen Hamilton’s “Independent Cost Assessment (ICA)” of the Space Launch System shows that SLS “can be initiated within our currently constrained fiscal limitations” and therefore “halt the further loss of skilled aerospace workers now poised to be laid off from the NASA manned spaceflight program.” But that is the end of where we agree with the Texas and Alabama Senators.
“Yesterday’s failure of the Soyuz launch vehicle – while a rare event – proves that America needs multiple ways to deliver crew and cargo to the ISS (International Space Station). While NASA has four industry teams working on multiple spacecrafts, Congress is starving these attempts by only giving NASA a paltry $280 million on these vehicles. Meanwhile, Congress is also demanding that NASA spend almost twenty times as much to develop their Congressionally-designed and –mandated ‘Senate Launch System’.” said Rick Tumlinson, co-founder of the Space Frontier Foundation.
This week NASA released the executive summary of the SLS ICA. Booz Allen Hamilton’s report found that NASA’s estimate of $38 billion to develop and conduct one uncrewed and one crewed flight of the Multipurpose Crew Vehicle and the Space Launch System over the next decade is probably a credible estimate, but only for the first three-five years of the program. BAH found that NASA’s estimates were much more optimistic, and therefore likely to be too low, after then.
“In English, this means the SLS is nothing but a near terms jobs program. It will do nothing to address the near term needs of this country. It does nothing to address our immediate needs of multiple & reliable ways to access space. So when the out years costs go up, SLS will be further delayed, until it is canceled like every other Congressionally mandated launch project of the last 20 years” explained Bob Werb, co-founder and chairman of the board for Space Frontier Foundation.
“This is fantastic news for Hutchison and Shelby, because all they care about is bailing out a few white collar Shuttle contractors now, at the expense of developing a robust and jobs-creating US commercial spaceflight industry that will save billions of dollars, create tens of thousands of new jobs and assure that we have multiple ways to carry American payloads and astronauts to and from space without depending on any other nations.” said Will Watson, Executive Director of the Space Frontier Foundation. “But they don’t seem to care about America’s Future tomorrow as much as they care about their pork today.”