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Monster Rocket Will Eat American Space Program
by Ferris Valyn
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Sep 19, 2011

AIA Welcomes NASA's Space Launch System Announcement
Washington DC (SPX) Sep 18 - NASA's announcement of the Space Launch System development plan is a bold and welcome development in these troubling times. Even as our economy struggles to recover from recession, the plan is a ray of hope that America's belief in a better future endures and America's continued leadership in space exploration can be preserved. The NASA decision to initiate a competition-with bipartisan support from both houses of Congress-is encouraging and will hopefully assure that the breadth of our nation's aerospace industry will have an opportunity to contribute their innovative ideas to the program's success.

I am particularly pleased that NASA's announcement coincided with AIA's celebration of National Aerospace Week commemorating our nation's aerospace achievements. While we work to reduce the federal budget deficit, it's vital that we continue investing in research and development-the only way our nation will grow its economy in the future. It will also demonstrate to our nation's young people that even though the space shuttle has been retired, our commitment to future exploration continues. To be a part of it, they will need to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees. These investments are essential if we are to continue into the 21st Century as "Second to None"

Statement by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Senate Funding to Restore American Human Spaceflight Capability
Hawthorne CA (SPX) Sep 18 - Today the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $500 million for Commercial Spaceflight as part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's 2012 budget. This will support the Commercial Crew Development Program (CCDev), a NASA initiative with the goal of safely and rapidly restoring America's domestic capability to carry astronauts into space. "The United States needs alternatives for carrying American astronauts, and we need them as soon as possible".

With the Space Shuttle's retirement earlier this year, the United States became wholly reliant on Russia to carry American astronauts to the space station. SpaceX is currently one of four companies to receive funding under the CCDev program.

Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and Chief Technology Officer, issued the following statement:

"The United States needs alternatives for carrying American astronauts, and we need them as soon as possible," said SpaceX CEO and chief rocket designer Elon Musk. "The investments made by this legislation will accelerate efforts to return America to launching astronauts and reduce our dependency on Russia. With the failure of the Soyuz booster last month, this effort is more important than ever.

"NASA's Commercial Crew Development Program is the most fiscally responsible means to rapidly advance human spaceflight. It has protected taxpayer dollars with fixed-price, pay-for-performance contracts. It fosters competition that forces companies to compete on reliability, capability and cost. And it leverages private investment - making taxpayer dollars go further.

"SpaceX applauds Chairwoman Mikulski, Ranking Member Hutchison and the Members of the Subcommittee for recognizing the value of the program. With the support of Congress, American companies will soon be able to end the flow of tax dollars to Russia and instead invest in high-tech American jobs."

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."

Related Links
Space Frontier Foundation
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com


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