Aviation Week reports that subpoenas are flying on Capitol Hill:
The chairman and ranking Republican of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee have made good on their threat to subpoena documents related to NASA’s selection of a design for the heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS), setting up a showdown over the agency’s pace in meeting a congressional order.
The subpoena from Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the panel chair, and ranking minority member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) went to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on July 27, after the committee and its staff apparently were unsatisfied with NASA’s progress in meeting the 2010 NASA Authorization Act’s call for a heavy-lift launch vehicle.
NASA is closing in on its reference design for the heavy-lift SLS, which Congress says in the authorization language must be able to lift 130 metric tons to begin moving human explorers beyond low Earth orbit. Last week the agency sent the Senate panel a letter on its progress. It also has given senators and committee staffers a peek at some 6,000 pages of documents from the protracted reference-design selection process.