“The administration’s FY’13 budget includes almost $1.9 billion for continued pursuit of the SLS Titanic, a ‘monster rocket’ based on 40-year-old Space Shuttle technology in an attempt to recapture the glory days of the Apollo Saturn V,” said Rohrabacher. “By NASA’s internal estimates, the SLS and other components won’t be ready to launch astronauts to an asteroid until 2028, after we have spent over $130 billion towards the mission. By those same estimates, NASA has shown how they can accomplish the exact same mission with our existing fleet of launch vehicles four years earlier and at less than half that cost.
“If I had someone come to me and say they wanted to spend well over a hundred billion dollars when they knew the task could be done more quickly and less expensively, I’d say, ‘You’re fired,’” declared Rohrabacher.
“As expected, the President did not request an additional $1 billion above last year’s appropriation, which NASA’s plans seem to require. Of course, even that funding level would have fallen about $2 billion short of what NASA would need next year to keep the SLS Titanic on schedule,” Rohrabacher added.
“I am pleased the President requested $830 million for Commercial Crew programs, which is America’s single most important near-term civil space project. But cutting the Technology budget while increasing the Earth Science budget – a function that doesn’t even belong in a space exploration agency – and continuing to shovel resources into the SLS money pit is a travesty.
“Any more of this kind of “leadership” and soon NASA’s entire budget will be consumed by JWST and the SLS, two things that won’t have made it off the launch pad ten years from now.”
Rep. Rohrabacher is a senior member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.