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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 MrBlastman on 8/30/2011 12:40:48 PM , Rating: 3
First, in jest, never trust a man who switches teams. They can't be counted on. ;)


First off, Barrack Obama is a Christian.

Who cares? Our nation was set up to have separation of Church and State. It should always be this way as long as our flag still flies strong. I'm sick of politicians using Religion as a crutch to try and sway people to vote for them. I wish they'd all stop wearing it on their sleeve and instead, try and sway them with the results of their actions.


I think that we can table the Manned Space Program for a decade or so, with no big loss to science. Robotic space probes can do far more valuable science at a fraction of the cost. Worth every penny in my opinion. Manned Space flight is for politicians.

No, I don't think we can table it for a decade or so. What if one of the Great Observatories, i.e. Hubble or Spitzer etc., run into serious problems? How will we fix them? We can't simply let them rot--okay, we can, but arguably their contributions to the scientific community, particularly Astronomy, have been so paramount and tremendous we can not deny their worth to mankind. We can't fix them without human hands. It isn't possible. Nothing beats real eyeballs and hands working on the item, at least for now.

Space probes are great, they've told us a lot about our solar system and the planets within it. Voyager 1 and 2 have given us tremendous insight on things. The various probes we have put on Mars have also given us large amounts of information.

However, the farther probes move from Earth, the greater the delay for communications and commands to the probe between it and Earth. Then we have visual acuity issues coupled with mobility problems. We have great technology, however none of these possess artificial intelligence that can replace the human brain. When we bind our brains to limitations such as delays taking multiple minutes before any progress is had, it becomes cumbersome to achieve results of any great magnitude.

But, we have to consider the costs. It costs little to send disposable probes relatively speaking compared with what it would cost to send a crew of humans. Thus, we could send more probes instead. That alone could be enough to tell us to "stay on Earth."

With that considered though, Man has always been about exploring and reaching beyond their boundaries. We've never just sat in a spot and remained complacent for any great length of time. It is in our nature to expand our horizons and try and best our previous achievements. Putting a Man on Mars might cost a huge amount of money, it might allow us to get immediate but small-reaching results (versus lengthy, but far-reaching), the thing it would do better than any probe is providing inspiration to our youth to pursue the sciences (which we have a draught of) and give us more minds to tackle the greater problems.

RE: What ELSE Would One Expect...
By TEAMSWITCHER on 8/30/2011 9:24:42 PM , Rating: 2
The bottom line is that our government is spending well over 1 trillion dollars more than it takes in each year. We cannot afford a manned space program! I'm sorry, but that's the reality of the situation were in. I would love the situation to be different and have the money for an ambitious space program, but we don't. Sorry.

By MrBlastman on 8/30/2011 10:21:42 PM , Rating: 2
Cut out the BS pork spending then, anything but NASA. NASA only comprises .55% of our national budget. 1/2 Percent! I'd say that is a small price to pay to eventually get our backsides off this rock before humanity kills itself off.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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