Print 24 comment(s) - last by chathuragune.. on Sep 2 at 12:45 PM

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.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Dailytech FUD
By Ramtech on 8/30/2011 7:53:41 AM , Rating: 1
1st progress failure since...
By Amiga500 on 8/25/2011 8:32:23 AM , Rating: 2 ever. Started launching in 1998 and this is the first to go awry. I would think it is not a fundamental problem, and more one of quality control. RE: 1st progress failure since...

By jhb116 on 8/25/2011 8:54:47 AM , Rating: 4 Very true - and there there is statement about dismay over spending $63M - really - $63M is a bargain compared to the estimated $1B for each Shuttle launch. Don't get me wrong - I don't like not having a manned space program but the Shuttle program was to expensive.

RE: Dailytech FUD
By Ramtech on 8/30/2011 8:06:28 AM , Rating: 1
why i cant edit my comments?

Why is Dailytech spreading such lies

RE: Dailytech FUD
By MrBlastman on 8/30/2011 12:20:13 PM , Rating: 2
On Dailytech, you are expected to take pride and exhibit diligence in your postings. As such, once you press the post button, there is no editing. No ninja edits. Everything is set in stone. You can't hide once you say something.

As for Dailytech spreading lies... All I see is you quoting things other people have said. How is Dailytech spreading lies?

It looks to me that at the most all it is doing is providing an open forum for its members to discuss issues and state their opinions.

From my vantage point though, it looks to me that you think you know better. Tell us, oh great wise one, tell us what the real truth is. Enlighten us all.

RE: Dailytech FUD
By jhb116 on 8/30/2011 7:33:01 PM , Rating: 2
What is your point? Are you questioning $63M for launch support to the ISS? That isn't out of the realm of possibility given "tourists" have paid $10M for launch so I'm not sure what your issue is with that.

Or are you questioning my estimate of $1B per shuttle launch? You might want to do some research because the shuttle program cost many billions of $ to support each year and was lucky to launch 6 times per year. It is likely that the true cost were more than $1B per flight. With the amount of refurbishment that was required after each shuttle flight - we would be better served with a disposable vehicle or significantly upgrade shuttle.

As with the other commenter on your post - could you enlighten us with your wisdom so we can debate points?

By thisisaname on 8/30/2011 5:23:01 PM , Rating: 1
NASA is the biggest waste of money in American history. There is no innovation, no push for the stars. They've lost their vision. I think they should be the first to go in a huge round of budget cuts.

RE: Meh
By Zingam on 8/31/2011 2:21:16 AM , Rating: 2

How about the US military? They do not protect US from enemies? US is like a shark in the ocean... they have no real enemies.

At the same time US is wasting billions for useless campaigns in Afghanistan, Iraq and all over the world. The US involvement in the last 30-40 years in that region has cause only the increase the danger of terrorism. (who was first to train/finance the mujaheddins/talibans/al-qaida and all their incarnations)?

Also US is constantly developing/ordering more and more weapons with doubtful usefulness to fight imaginary enemies.

At the same time the economy (the market economy) is wasting huge amount of money to develop/produce useless products (which results in wasted natural resources) and the worst of all most of the profits go into the hands of laywers/bankers who do not produce anything useful for the mankind.

I doubt that the humanity could go on like this for another 100 years.
Perhaps the only way to save humanity is to allow to spread itself into space. If we continue like that we'll exhaust our resources and humanity will fall back into another dark age.

I live in an ancient Roman city and when I look at the Roman excavations I see that they had stuff 2000 years ago that we were able to get again only in the last 50 years. Do we really want to stall back our development for a few more millennia because of stupidity and greed?

RE: Meh
By chiadog on 8/31/2011 11:12:21 AM , Rating: 2
US is like a shark in the ocean... they have no real enemies.

You're forgetting the Chinese. MMMM shark fin soup.

By WinstonSmith on 8/30/2011 11:19:41 AM , Rating: 2
"NASA has been accused of stalling for the sake of trying to end the SLS program"

Good! They should best know what they need and it isn't that politically motivated system in search of a mission.

FalconX and its Falcon 9 Heavy is THE way to go:


...the Falcon Heavy will offer approximately twice the performance of the Delta IV Heavy at approximately one third the cost; or, as he helpfully added, six times the value. Determining the actual price of a Delta or Atlas is not an easy proposition, a tactic Musk compared to a rug bazaar in that the price is determined by what the vendor perceives the buyer can pay. At the moment, the buyer is the US government, and it is paying dearly.

Assuming the Falcon Heavy’s numbers are accurate, the pricing and performance figures offered in Musk’s presentation raise a number of very interesting and, no doubt to some, uncomfortable questions. They also have the potential to completely alter the basis of what currently passes for space policy.

First, the uncomfortable questions. Given the fact that the SpaceX Falcon rockets are not based on any radical technological breakthrough that lowered their costs, one has to ask just how bad a deal has the taxpayer been getting from the Atlas V and Delta IV, products of the legacy aerospace establishment? Soon to be deprived of the hyper-expensive Space Shuttle as their own point of comparison, the answer would appear to be much worse than we ever imagined.

I have a question
By FPP on 9/1/2011 12:33:50 AM , Rating: 2
What mission is this heavy lift vehicle being developed for?

Spend money on R&D
By chathuragune on 9/2/2011 12:45:50 PM , Rating: 2
US needs to spend money in R&D and more money on fundamental science research. Space program what made USA great for long time (

What ELSE Would One Expect...
By mmatis on 8/30/11, Rating: -1
RE: What ELSE Would One Expect...
By TEAMSWITCHER on 8/30/2011 9:16:37 AM , Rating: 2
First off, Barrack Obama is a Christian. Second, our Government is operating with massive deficits. 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.

RE: What ELSE Would One Expect...
By TheShniz on 8/30/2011 9:41:10 AM , Rating: 1
Given his actions and views towards Israel and the Middle East, and having been in the 'church' of black liberation theology with Jermiah Wright... I seriously doubt he fits the biblical definition of Christian.

RE: What ELSE Would One Expect...
By ebakke on 8/30/2011 10:42:16 AM , Rating: 2
Who cares? He's had plenty of policy blunders, and diving into his personal life with attacks like "his religion isn't good enough for me" just detract from legitimate arguments against his political actions.

RE: What ELSE Would One Expect...
By TeXWiller on 8/30/2011 11:12:23 AM , Rating: 2
How is a definition of a Christian suddenly tied to Israel and the Middle East? And more importantly, how does that relate to NASA? Perhaps you should stay in the balancing of the budget arguments like the most rational Tea Partiers do.

Go ahead and rub those definitions of a true Christian in the face of an Orthodox Christian, or an Armenian Christian. All bets are off how far you'll walk afterwards.

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.

RE: What ELSE Would One Expect...
By danjw1 on 8/30/2011 11:05:53 AM , Rating: 2
Could a robot have fixed or upgraded the Hubble Space Telescope? There is a place for manned space flight. The big issue to me is throwing money at companies like Boeing, that bid low, never get anything done on schedule and don't eat their cost overruns. If you want to save money, just block Boeing, Lockhead/Martin, Northrup Grumman and their ilk from being able to able to bid for government contracts, until they start eating any and all cost overruns and agree to big fines for late deliveries.

RE: What ELSE Would One Expect...
By quiksilvr on 8/30/2011 1:07:05 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, a robot could have fixed/upgraded the Hubble Space Telescope and it could have been left attached to the telescope all the time. All you would have to do is to send modules to it where it can collect the replacement parts/tools needed and fix it.

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.

RE: What ELSE Would One Expect...
By mmatis on 8/30/2011 6:10:11 PM , Rating: 1
But OF COURSE you are right! How stupid of me! I mean, it's NOT like he had his toadie Bolden out saying that NASA's foremost job is to reach out to the Muslim world. And it's NOT like his highest approval rating is from Muslims. And it's NOT like he bows to every Muslim ruler, but insults Christian rulers with impunity.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki