Rohrabacher Calls for Emergency CCDev Funding

Comments

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) has issued a statement concerning the loss of a Russian Progress freighter earlier today:

“I am calling on General Bolden, the NASA Administrator, to propose an emergency transfer of funding from unobligated balances in other programs, including the Space Launch System, to NASA’s commercial crew initiative. Funding should be used to speed up the efforts of the four current industry partners to develop their systems and potentially expand the recent awards to include the best applicants for launch vehicle development.”

Read the full statement below.

Washington, DC- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) issued the following statement in reaction to today’s failure of the Russian Progress Soyuz cargo rocket:

“Today, Russia’s Soyuz launch vehicle failed to boost the Progress M-12M cargo ship into orbit to deliver needed supplies to the International Space Station. This failure should be a cause of grave concern, and a moment of reexamination of America’s space strategy,” said Rohrabacher.

“Today’s Russian rocket failure will interrupt ISS cargo deliveries, and could threaten crew transportation as well. NASA needs to conduct an investigation before another Soyuz spacecraft with new ISS crew members can be launched, and it is unknown how long such an investigation will take.”

“I hope this is a minor problem with a quick and simple fix,” said Rohrabacher. “But this episode underscores America’s need for reliable launch systems of its own to carry cargo and crew into space. The only way to achieve this goal is to place more emphasis on commercial cargo and crew systems currently being developed by American companies.

“We need to get on with the task of building affordable launch systems to meet our nation’s needs for access to low Earth orbit, instead of promoting grandiose concepts which keep us vulnerable in the short and medium terms. The most responsible course of action for the United States is to dramatically accelerate the commercial crew systems already under development.

“I am calling on General Bolden, the NASA Administrator, to propose an emergency transfer of funding from unobligated balances in other programs, including the Space Launch System, to NASA’s commercial crew initiative. Funding should be used to speed up the efforts of the four current industry partners to develop their systems and potentially expand the recent awards to include the best applicants for launch vehicle development.

“NASA could potentially transfer several hundred million dollars from this long term development concept, since the SLS project has not even started, to the more urgently needed systems that can launch astronauts to ISS, reliably and affordably. This transfer will boost the development of American controlled technology and greatly reduce our dependence on the Russians.”

Rep. Rohrabacher is a senior member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.


  • Jim

    Good luck Rep. Rohrabacher. Odds are, money will be shifted not to, but from, CCDev to COTS so that the commercial cargo companies can accelerate their first mission, getting cargo up to ISS. Both Orbital and SpaceX are 2 years behind where they should be on their COTS contracts and need a push to start delivering sooner rather than later.

  • http://www.parabolicarc.com Doug Messier

    Actually, that money was already included in the current FY 2011 budget. I think it was $300 million total, and there was an equal split of some lesser amount between SpaceX and OSC. The latter got money to fund a demo flight of Taurus II set for December. There’s no extra money for COTS in the FY 2012 budget proposal at present.

    I expect that won’t change because both of the upcoming flights are — nominally anyway — are set for the end of the year. I doubt either one could be accelerated at this point by very much even with extra funding. If the flights succeed, then cargo delivery will begin next year on a fixed-cost basis. If they don’t, or if there are serious testing delays, then NASA would need to make some decisions about whether to put more money into COTS.

    Just my 2 cents on the subject….

  • warshawski

    A republican talking actual sence how can this be? Firts sensible thing from the republican side on space for some time.
    CCDev funding should be accelerated but kept to the fixed priced milestone payment system used in COTS to reduce buracratic overhead.
    As for COTS first flight due end of November and a 2 year delay in a space program is quite short in comparison to recent history. All the best to both COTS teams.

  • http://nowebsite Concerned Enthusiast

    Yes! A US politician speaking for commercial services rather than the Senate Launch System ‘designed’ by congresspeople and senators for their own political gain!

    If the US intends to have spaceflight capability and further advance technology in various crucial areas, it has to restructure the relationship between its space program and space contractors. COTS is one way to do this, but SLS is unfortunately the very epitome of the problem structures that face US capability in space.

    Hopefully this failure coming at this time, will alert all Americans even vaguely interested in spaceflight. If the combined COTS 2/3 flight by SpaceX due in a few months is a success, it will further erode the footing for politically motivated ‘pork barrel’ systems, and offer an oppurtunity for the US to regain launch capability to the station and regain capability as a capable partner in international spaceflight cooperation- an important area for fostering international relations.