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NASA's SLS project in jeopardy, as US voters and politicians grow weary of political issues

NASA retired the space shuttle fleet and faces mounting problems related to the 2010 NASA Authorization Bill alongside other budget issues that have angered politicians and citizens. 

U.S. lawmakers are growing more concerned that NASA administrators could have saved jobs and tax payer money as the mismanaged space launch system (SLS) helps usher the U.S. space program into a new era. 

NASA has been accused of stalling for the sake of trying to end the SLS program, with the U.S. space agency also conducting its own internal review of the SLS program. 

"Due to unjustified, sometimes substantial future cost savings, the team views each program estimate as optimistic," noted Booz Allen Hamilton, as the U.S. space agency continues to face pressure to move forward. 

Once completed, the SLS is expected to be a heavy launch vehicle able to enter low-Earth orbit (LEO). Specifically, the new SLS rocket would be powered by Ares I and space shuttle engines, though there has been added call for liquid-fueled strap-on boosters. 

The finished report was expected earlier in the month, but NASA said it still needs additional time before it can be released. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and several other senators don't believe a private sector competition to develop the future SLS will just lead to other future delays. 

NASA has about $1.78 billion set aside for the SLS program during fiscal 2011, but it ends on September 30. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee ranking Republican, claims NASA's problems with SLS have led to as many as 3,000 job losses since the shuttle program ended.

Senators are still unsure how to help NASA unify its Ares I and Ares V space vehicle plans, after the U.S. space agency ended the Constellation program. SpaceX, Boeing, and two other contractors are currently working on U.S. government-funded projects to develop new shuttle systems able to ferry astronauts and supplies into space. 

If there is so much money still up for grabs, representative states will make a strong push to keep NASA focused on short-term projects.  Until then, it'll be up to the Russians to help take NASA astronauts and supplies into space, though that costly alternative 
now faces its own problems.

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RE: What ELSE Would One Expect...
By tng on 8/30/2011 10:35:32 AM , Rating: 2
Robotic space probes can do far more valuable science at a fraction of the cost.
Yes since they can send them out on long missions that no man would do.

I think that we can table the Manned Space Program for a decade or so, with no big loss to science
No, you can't just table it. Once it gets put on the "back burner" so to speak, it will never return. There are things that can only be done via manned space flight. I know I will never see it in my lifetime, but Mars is still out there waiting.

Doesn't it bother anybody else that there are Senators who are basically now telling NASA how to run the agency? Is the management at NASA that bad that the jokers who are trying to ruin the rest of the country are now running NASA?

RE: What ELSE Would One Expect...
By ebakke on 8/30/2011 10:44:41 AM , Rating: 2
Doesn't it bother anybody else that there are Senators who are basically now telling NASA how to run the agency?
Well sure. But it's smack dab in the middle of a loooooong list of actions the political machine engages in that I don't agree with. Unfortunately my power do to anything about it is severely limited.

By Reclaimer77 on 8/30/2011 1:49:45 PM , Rating: 1
Doesn't it bother anybody else that there are Senators who are basically now telling NASA how to run the agency?

Well yeah. While we're listing things Senators with no experience weigh in on lets also throw in baseball, banking, the automobile industry, Wall Street, the healthcare industry, energy and utilities and the Internet. Oh yeah, and what we eat and put in our bodies. If I left out anything, excuse me, but there is just SO much.

NASA will always be at the mercy of politicians who view it's budget as something that could be spent on more debt-growing entitlement spending, and therefore, a waste.

NASA also isn't exactly blameless, because in the end, they are a Government agency. Plagued by all the pitfalls and politics and inefficiency and smothering oversight typical of one.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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