Bolden Urges ESA to Extend Participation in Space Station

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

“Seeing the potential of ISS to help solve terrestrial problems and to support our journey to Mars, in January 2014, the Obama Administration announced its commitment to extend the ISS through at least 2024. Despite tight budgets and competing domestic priorities, Russia, Japan and Canada have all also made the decision to commit to supporting ISS operations through at least 2024.

“I know that ESA ministers will be considering extending participation in the ISS at the upcoming Ministerial in the midst of competing institutional needs and while dealing with social, political and financial challenges back home. Still, I urge all of you, whether your nation is subscribed to the ISS or not, to advocate with your ministers about the importance of the Space Station for not only our near-term objectives, but also for our long-term future. By committing to extend ISS operations to at least 2024, you will help ensure our ability as a Partnership to maximize the scientific and technical return of our substantial investment.”

— NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

Bolden addressed the ESA Council last week to update it on NASA’s and to make an appeal for the space agency to remain as a partner in the International Space Station through 2024.

Bolden’s full address to the ESA Council is below.

NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. Addressing the ESA Council

Dear Professor Wörner, co-chairs Bo Andersen and Jean-Yves Le Gall; delegation heads; distinguished friends and colleagues, it is an honor and a privilege to have this unique opportunity to address the ESA Council. I recognize that you are in the midst of intensive consultations, as you prepare for your Ministerial Council in December, so thank you even more so for spending some of your precious time with me today.

ESA and NASA have a long tradition of cooperation spanning decades and nearly all of the disciplines in NASA’s space portfolio. We have been together since ESA’s beginning. We started collaborating in Space Science and Human Spaceflight and expanded our collaboration to include Earth Science and Space Technology. Our partnership is long and strong, stretching from the Hubble Space Telescope to JWST; from LISA Pathfinder and Mars Express.

Together we forged the beginnings of the International Space Station (ISS) and, recently, the Service Module for the Orion spacecraft. From the Columbus module to the flight of countless ESA astronauts, the depth and range of our collaboration are remarkable.

Our scientists, researchers, engineers, astronauts and our leaders know and trust each other and seek each other’s counsel and cooperation. Yet as impressive as our past together has been and as productive as our present is, our future can be even more exciting and I’d like to talk to you today about that future, our future together. Our future starts with the ISS.

From the ISS, we can look out into our solar system and beyond and on our own home, Earth. We can research fundamental physics and study how to keep our bodies healthy. We can even grow lettuce and launch satellites.

The Space Station’s capabilities stretch across disciplines; it truly is at the center of so much of what we, as space agencies and as nations, do to push the boundaries of exploration. The Space Station also has tremendous relevance to us on Earth. The Expedition 34 crew patch carried the phrase “off the Earth, for the Earth”. This phrase captures well one of the unique aspects of ISS research. With crews on board we have assembled a unique biological research suite that rivals the capability of terrestrial laboratories on Earth. We have equipment on ISS that is identical to the equipment in those labs. We also have the ability to study the same model organisms that they study: fish, rodents, plants and fruit flies. But the unique properties of microgravity on biological systems gives researchers new insight into problems that they are studying on Earth – effects like bone loss, muscle wasting, immune system degradation and DNA changes. This research can radically change treatments and approaches to diseases.

Seeing the potential of ISS to help solve terrestrial problems and to support our journey to Mars, in January 2014, the Obama Administration announced its commitment to extend the ISS through at least 2024. Despite tight budgets and competing domestic priorities, Russia, Japan and Canada have all also made the decision to commit to supporting ISS operations through at least 2024. I know that ESA ministers will be considering extending participation in the ISS at the upcoming Ministerial in the midst of competing institutional needs and while dealing with social, political and financial challenges back home. Still, I urge all of you, whether your nation is subscribed to the ISS or not, to advocate with your ministers about the importance of the Space Station for not only our near-term objectives, but also for our long-term future. By committing to extend ISS operations to at least 2024, you will help ensure our ability as a Partnership to maximize the scientific and technical return of our substantial investment.

You will also position us to work together on new space exploration far into the future and support research that can help everyone on Earth.

As many of you are aware, we are pursuing an international human Journey to Mars that involves three important stages. Right now, ESA, NASA and our partners are in stage one: the “Earth Reliant” stage. We can reach the Space Station in less than a day; we have regular cargo missions bringing up supplies and equipment. European industry is helping us with these cargo missions by providing the Cygnus capsule as part of Orbital ATK’s commercial resupply contract. Transitioning the operations costs for low-Earth orbit assets to the private sector will free up resources for us to move into stage two, the “Proving Ground”, where we will learn to conduct complex operations in a deep space environment in the vicinity of the moon that still allows crews to return to Earth in a matter of days.

By providing the European Service Module for our deep space transport vehicle, Orion, ESA is with us in this stage as well.

The third phase is becoming “Earth Independent” by building upon what we are learning on the Space Station and what we will learn in the “Proving Ground” of the lunar vicinity to enable human missions to Mars. It is with this plan in mind that I’m here today to encourage you to continue your support for human exploration, starting with an ESA Council decision this coming December to extend ISS operations to at least 2024, a critical step to continue advancing humanity’s presence farther into the solar system and, ultimately, completion of the Journey to Mars.

ESA and NASA have a long history of relying on each other. With the ISS, ESA is in the critical path of the first stage of our journey – the continuation of ISS to at least 2024. As provider of the Orion service module, ESA is now in the critical path of the second stage.

I hope that the future will see Europe, through ESA, firmly in the critical path of the third stage as well. It is also my hope that we at NASA will be in your critical paths of many of your future missions, as we have been throughout our long relationship.

As we look toward sending astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit with the eventual goal of sending them to Mars, we realize that there are multiple challenges we will need to address related to crew health, life support technologies and entry descent and landing on the Martian surface. These are some of the challenges that we in the ISS Partnership are addressing right now on the Space Station. By extending the Space Station to at least 2024 we, as a Partnership, can continue to conduct the research and technology demonstrations that are critical to moving humans beyond low-Earth orbit.

Throughout the assembly of the Space Station and during more than 15 years of permanent human habitation now, we have tested and advanced our ability to live and work in space. Every day, as a Partnership, we understand better what it means to conduct long-term operations. Our hardware and software systems sometimes break down, but as a Partnership we make repairs and configuration improvements. We learn how to build and maintain components that are more robust.

The Space Station is not only a platform that will enable human exploration of an asteroid and Mars; it is also a world-class microgravity research laboratory. So, we are proud that today we are conducting fundamental and applied research that advances our scientific knowledge of Earth, space, physical and biological sciences aboard the ISS with ESA and our other international partners.

Stars, planets and the molecules that make them are only about five percent of the total mass in the universe — the rest is either dark matter or dark energy, but no one has been able to study it. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, in operation today on board the ISS, looks for evidence of these mysterious substances along with very high-energy radiation coming from distant stars that could harm crewmembers traveling to Mars. Europe and the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, play a leading role in this ambitious endeavor.

Together and individually the ISS Partners are conducting wide-ranging research in fundamental physics, materials, plasma, biology, medicine and more. Resources to conduct research on the ISS are in incredible demand and as a Partnership we are continuing to enable more and more utilization.

ISS is a unique laboratory for performing investigations to further understand human health both in space and on the Earth.

The Space Station has enabled research that is providing a better understanding of many aspects of human health including aging, trauma, disease and environmental impacts. The Space Station provides a unique platform to study “aging-like” changes in cardiovascular function by taking highly fit and healthy astronauts, subjecting them to the ultimate simulation of a sedentary lifestyle, living and working in a microgravity environment for an extended period of time. The research conducted on board every day and during the successful one-year mission of Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko, helps us understand our most basic asset, our health.

The technologies ISS Partners develop for the Space Station has real world applications that can benefit communities around the world. The technology developed for the ISS contributed to a clean water purification system that has so far been used in South and Central America, Pakistan and Iraq.

The technology developed for smaller and more sophisticated ultrasounds to be used to care for astronauts in space is now being adapted and used in support of people living in remote areas of the world, where CT scans, MRIs and even simple X-ray exams are impossible. Canada’s ISS robotic technology even contributed to the development of a robotic arm that could conduct surgery inside MRI machines, enabling incredibly precise, life-saving surgeries.

The ISS is also a global observation and diagnosis station collecting data about global climate and environmental change and natural hazards, utilizing both crew-operated and automated Earth observation payloads. Cameras on the Space Station contribute to a global network that provides data and imagery targeted at natural or technological disasters. Unique to the Space Station is the presence of crew that can react to unfolding events in real time.
Immediate adjustments can be critical for gathering time sensitive information during an emergency and when lives are at stake.

Seeing the Earth from space provides a new perspective that can inspire the next generations of astronauts, engineers and scientists. Last month a new IMAX movie was released, entitled “A Beautiful Planet.” I urge you all to see it, if you haven’t already. Through the work of our Space Station crew, including ESA Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, the beauty of Earth, as well as the work of the Space Station, will be shared on movie screens around the world.

Movies like “A Beautiful Planet” remind us to take a moment to reflect on all that our Partnership has created. It’s been over 17 years since the first ISS module was launched into space and together we have created the most complex civil engineering project known to man. Our space agencies are stronger and more capable when we work together.

As a multinational organization, ESA knows the power of international cooperation better than most and, like ESA, on ISS we have found that each of our cooperating agencies has different interests and strengths and the reality is that none of us has the funding to do everything on our own. We must work together to fully utilize and leverage both the Space Station and our Space Station Partnership as we move beyond low-Earth orbit.

Our Space Station Partnership enabled cooperation between our two agencies for the Orion Service Module. Together we are creating a vehicle that can travel farther than humans have gone in a generation. Last month the European Service Module that will fly on Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) in 2018, was delivered to Airbus. This marks a major milestone on its journey to the Kennedy Space Center in 2017, where it will be mated with the crew module in preparation for its maiden launch.

The Orion, with the European Service Module and the Space Launch System rocket that NASA is building will take astronauts to the lunar vicinity and, ultimately, to Mars.

I also want to mention the visible and critical role ESA astronauts are playing in our joint endeavors. The upcoming return to Earth of ESA Astronaut Tim Peake and the launch to space of ESA Astronauts Thomas Pesquet, Paolo Nespoli and Alexander Gerst as Space Station commander are such examples. These missions will continue to inspire many youth in their home countries and throughout Europe and the world. Together we, NASA and ESA, make these milestones happen.

With your support, we can continue our incredible Partnership on the International Space Station and together reach beyond to new destinations for the benefit of our citizens.

Extending ESA’s participation in the ISS through at least 2024 is critical to the success of the Space Station and the advancement of the research and technology demonstrations that we are, and will, conduct on our international laboratory in space.

Although I have focused here on the tremendous benefits of our cooperation on the ISS, I also wanted to touch very briefly on our other outstanding areas of cooperation, many of which will directly benefit future human exploration through breakthrough science and technology demonstrations. For example, NASA looks forward to the science and telecommunications support that will come from ESA’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli lander, as well as continuing our support for the ExoMars rover in 2020. Similarly, NASA is excited to work with ESA on the superb missions in the Cosmic Vision program that will fundamentally change our understanding of the universe.

I would like to leave you with just a few more important thoughts and considerations. We live in turbulent times. There is anger and extremism permeating our lives and political discourse. There is terror and intolerance. Values and ideals that our parents and their parents paid for in blood and tears are in peril. I submit to you that the International Space Station represents what is best in humankind. It represents engagement rather than isolation, openness rather than building walls and it is worthwhile to continue as long as we are maximizing its utilization and return, which I am convinced we can do easily until 2024. I submit to you that beyond being a technological marvel, beyond being essential in our joint endeavors to reach further into the cosmos on behalf of the human race, it represents scientific discovery and enlightenment. It represents collaboration and tolerance, inspires and motivates our children and grandchildren and provides hope. That, indeed, is a beacon for humanity and civilization.

Let us not extinguish this beacon, until we have secured our foothold in space and until we are ready – together – to take the next steps in space exploration for the benefit of our citizens and all humankind.


  • ThomasLMatula

    Given the progress by Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos this seems more like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic to keep it float. But I guess an Administrator needs to look like they are doing something to earn their pay.

    I just hope ISS lasts long enough to finish out the CCP program so they will be available to serve Bigelow Aerospace stations. But this is really a relic of the 1980’s view of space.

  • P.K. Sink

    If one were to ask Elon about ISS, I’d imagine that he’d be in favor of operating it until 2028, if possible. And Bigelow is pushing hard to attach a B330 in 2020. ISS has still got a huge role to play in helping the kids to grow up big and strong.

  • windbourne

    Yeah, but even I have to wonder for how much longer?
    Part of me really wants to see it killed off around 2022, but that assumes that we have 2 private space stations in orbit.
    Probably will be only 1. We will have to see.

    BUT, if we can get several private space stations in LEO and then have private space focus on the moon and mars, it would allow NASA’s main thrust to be ARM.

    The other major question becomes, what happens to SLS?
    We have spent many billions on it and Orion. The question is, do we keep it and run it as a back up to the BFR, OR do we kill it and hope that BO will do another BFR?

  • ThomasLMatula

    The B330 doesn’t need the ISS. It’s able to be a free flyer. And I wonder, given it’s size, how feasible it would be to attach it.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Given its likely flight rate I wonder if it even matters. To taxpayers of course who are having their pockets drained by SLS it matters of course. But does it really have any value other than allowing NASA a token return to its days of glory when its name was on the Saturn V and Space Shuttle?

  • P.K. Sink

    Bigelow likes the idea. I’m wondering if NASA is going to like it. And I guess that all of the ISS partners (or at least Russia) are going to have to like it too. I was very intrigued and encouraged that a Russian astronaut was right there with Jeff Williams when he popped the cork on BEAM.

  • P.K. Sink

    Whoa! You’ve really covered a lot of territory here.

    1) The way that schedules slip in this business, I’m really hoping that Bigelow, Boeing and SpaceX will be fully operational by 2024. 2022 seems like a tough date to make. But I hope that you’re right.

    2) It looks like ARM is a dead duck. Moon? A lot will depend on the next president. Mars? Go, Elon, go!

    3) SLS? If SX can relaunch a F9 and launch a FH this year, SLS is going to start looking pretty silly. My apologies to all the good people who are working on it.

  • While the B330 will be a great stand alone station, I don’t think it’s ready for prime time yet. They’ve demonstrated launch, deployment, and other capabilities like power generation and the such, but I don’t think they’ve demonstrated the end-to-end station yet.

    I know they were partnered with Aerojet (pre-merger) for the station keeping propulsion (I saw the hardware in Sacramento and spoke with some team members), but that looked like it was for a much smaller system. Also, they’ve never had to dock or had something dock to them before. They’ve done inflation, but I don’t think they’ve ever done ECLSS.

    I really think they do need this BEAM test and then a B330/ISS test to prove out the remaining systems and build confidence in their customers.

  • Andrew_M_Swallow

    The B330 does not need the ISS if everything works first time. That is an enormous ‘IF’. That is a lot of new hardware in the B330. Even if flight proven ECLSS equipment is used the devices will need integrating.

    I strongly suspect that astronauts will need to use the ISS as a life boat whilst they fix what ever does not work. Possibly several times.

  • MachineAgeChronicle

    Few Europeans have any deep interest in manned space flight. I doubt Bolden will drum up much extra funding.

  • Jeff2Space

    Kill SLS. Arguing that we should do *something* with it since we’ve spent so much money on it is falling into the trap of the “sunk cost fallacy”. The fact is that SLS will cost far too much to operate to ever be competitive on price. It should be scrapped and an open “commercial HLV” program should replace it. Much like commercial cargo and commercial crew are showing reduced costs, because of competition between multiple providers, having multiple HLV providers in direct competition will also drive down costs.

  • ThomasLMatula

    NASA didn’t demonstrate any of those elements when it launched Skylab. Nor did the Soviets when they launched Salyut. Are you saying Bigelow Aerospace is less capable? Why are you holding them to such a higher standard than NASA?

    Actually they already shown a more systematic approach since, unlike NASA or the Soviets, they have had two test beds in orbit for over a decade. Both worked perfected and exceeded expectations and are still functional. BEAM, which was designed, built and flown in less than 2 years for only $21 million showed they are ready.

    I expect the system you saw was for the Sundancer, another test article they stopped working on because the results of Gensis I and Gensis II were so good they decided to go forward the B330.

    They don’t need more test to build confidence in their customer, just a way to get the customers to their space stations.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Bigelow Aerospace wants to get its stations into orbit. If attaching them to an outdated ISS is their only option for getting crews to them, so be it. Robert Bigelow has been waiting since the end of the 1990’s for transportation to be available and so is willing to put up with NASA if its his only function.

  • ThomasLMatula

    I agree, but the Congress Critters won’t as they need to bring the pork home. That outweighs any rational decision making on SLS.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Yes, they have no problem tagging along as long as someone else is picking up most of the bill. Sad really as the EU economy is larger than the U.S. They could have a fine space program is they had the initiative to invest in it.

  • P.K. Sink

    “If attaching them to an outdated ISS is their only option for getting crews to them, so be it.”

    It is not their only option. But it appears to be their preferred option.

    “They don’t need more test to build confidence in their customer”

    I dunno. Maybe they do.

  • windbourne

    “to prove out the remaining systems and build confidence in their customers.”

    Bingo. That is what is needed.

  • windbourne

    nasa, along with the soviets, was a step after step after step program. After all, we did not launch Skylab first. We launched small sats and then put ppl into orbit slowly and then onto to the moon, again via many steps.

  • windbourne

    NASA always wanted an inflatable for ISS. Keep in mind that transhab was to originally go to space station freedom/ISS as sleeping quarters.

  • windbourne

    Bigelow needs to prove that this will work. Otherwise, other nations will say no, and will wnat to go with ISS or even Chinese.

  • Yeah. While SpaceX may be a rock star among New Space fans, the NASA name (and stamp of approval) carry a lot of weight in corporate and government circles (especially foreign governments).

    Can you imagine the difference going before a board of directors or an inquiry of MPs and saying “we went with Joe’s Discount Space Company, they were REALLY cheap, put your corporate logo/national flag on the side” versus “we went with the same company that NASA did, do you even care how much it cost?”

    When you’re talking about spending up to a billion dollars, that NASA seal of approval (real or implied) is worth A LOT!

  • P.K. Sink

    Good point. This may be another decision that’s going to end up on the desk of the next president and/or administrator. And it may take them up to a year after inauguration to even get settled into office. And will the Russians have veto power over the decision? I would love to see Charlie give the go-ahead on this project as a farewell gift to us NewSpace geeks.

  • windbourne

    Boy, if neither Boeing or SpaceX are launching humans next year, the ISS is in serious trouble.

    Hopefully, ARM is not dead. It is far better for NASA to do things that private space can/will not do. And private space is headed for the moon and mars. But, you are right about the next president.

    Ok, if we are going to the moon and mars, when do we not need a back-up system to it? Seriously, the ISS should have shown that we NEED to have redundant systems esp. with launch systems. BFR will take up a lot and will likely be used for lunar missions as well. BUT, what happens if we get ppl up there and then the BFR hits a snag?
    If we do not have a secondary system, then we are in deep trouble.

  • windbourne

    so, it is almost certain that private space will be going to the moon and mars in early 20’s. While many will think that FH and SLS will do the job, my gut says that the main SHLV will end up being BFR due to expected capacity and costs.
    However, what happens if we get a base going on the moon and BFR fails? What backs it up? FH? Hmmm. Similar family lines which leaves me questioning it.
    We NEED to have another SHLV, and the only other one is the SLS.
    Hoepfully, BO and others will develop true SHLV, but it remains to be seen.

  • windbourne

    I have not argued for using to due to spending so much money. I am arguing that there is not another system that can back up the expected BFR that will be the primary system for lunar and martian usage.

  • windbourne

    Oh wow.
    I was not even thinking about Russia veto power. They could nix that.
    I wonder if they will trade that vote for being able to go to the moon?

  • windbourne

    Yup. So many Americans hate NASA but most of their issues with NASA are actually CONgress caused.

  • P.K. Sink

    “Seriously, the ISS should have shown that we NEED to have redundant systems”

    That’s the best argument that I’ve ever read for not pulling the plug on SLS. And, personally, I think that it’s a pretty powerful one.
    As far as ARM goes, it started out as a really exciting mission, and then shrank down to the point of meaninglessness. But I am all for the robotic part of it, and it’s potential to assist the commercial asteroid mining efforts.

  • P.K. Sink

    Good question. Bigelow and Russia definitely share that goal in common. Now, if we could just convince Putin to stop invading his neighbors…

  • ThomasLMatula

    So the two Gensis spacecraft don’t count? But that is ancient history now, the same as referring to the good old days when governments built airships. There is a big difference between small satellites and a test element that accurately simulates the full size station. The world is changing despite what NASA supporters might like to believe.

    But hang on to your belief that only NASA is able to do space. But don’t be shocked if SLS and Orion are really the last gasp of the old NASA.

  • ThomasLMatula

    If I recall that was the attitude of the old aviation experts towards towards the Wright Brothers 🙂

  • therealdmt

    First, I agree with your general point.

    However, in this specific case, all he has to do (at the ESA’s request, btw) is to make an appeal to the ESA member nations to *continue* their support for ISS — continue it along with their international partners who have all already agreed to continue it. All they (the ESA member states) have to do is not let their international partners down; they don’t have to step up to the plate in any new way.

    Still, it’s a lot of money, money that could be better spent on other things — things like a moon village, for instance. Only problem is, the ESA has no ability whatsoever to build and maintain a village on the moon. They don’t have a spaceship, they don’t have a rocket to lift the spaceship to the moon, and they don’t have a lander/ascent vehicle to go from the spaceship down to the lunar service and back up to the spaceship. They don’t even have their own spacesuits, I believe. With that in mind, they aren’t building any village on the moon.

    However, they *can* be part of an international effort, an effort that, at least for the next decade, would have to be lead by NASA. So, if Bolden says that that NASA effort will be continuing the ISS for the next decade, and they really value Europe’s contribution, that’ll be just what the member states need to hear to continue to pony up. I hope — they’re not the biggest piece, but they *are* a very significant partner.

  • Emmet Ford

    Are there really many Americans who hate NASA? Well, I guess haters gonna hate.

  • Jeff2Space

    NASA and Congress cannot be completely separated since Congress decides the budget and actually micro-manages how NASA spends the money they do allocate. But no matter. We’re reaching a time in history where commercial space is developing their own engines and their own launch vehicles without the traditional cost-plus contracts dependant on Congress and the micromanaging government oversight of NASA having to approve every aspect of the design.

  • Jeff2Space

    Exactly. And when the Wright Brothers weren’t getting the predicted performance out of the airfoils they patterned after US Government data, they built their own wind tunnel and collected their own data. In the end, they found out that the government data was quite simply wrong.

    If you visit the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio, you can see one of their wind tunnels. It’s a beautiful example of detailed craftsmanship (most of it is made of wood, so it looks more like a work of art than test equipment) and ingenuity (hacksaw blades were used for the balance mechanism).

    The lesson here is that sometimes even NASA can be wrong. They gave up on reusability after the X-33 debacle claiming that the (bleeding edge) technology to make reusable vehicles cost effective simply just did not yet exist. But SpaceX and Blue Origin are both proving that wrong, as they’re not using bleeding edge technologies in their vehicles. In fact, their engines are not terribly impressive by traditional measures of performance (e.g. ISP). But, their vehicles are proving to be successful nonetheless.

    The other lesson here is that you don’t always need bleeding edge technologies to solve an economic problem via engineering. Sometimes it’s quite the opposite since vehicles based on proven technologies can be cheaper to manufacture, use, and maintain.

  • Jeff2Space

    ULA can build a BFR equivalent, given the funding. This is why “commercial HLV” would be successful. Pitting ULA against the likes of SpaceX will force ULA to innovate. EELV contracts certainly didn’t spur innovation, and that’s largely the fault of the way the government wrote the contracts. When NASA’s Exploration Systems Architecture Study was done, one of the options explored was HLVs based on ULA’s EELV technologies. Just because that wasn’t the chosen way forward doesn’t mean it isn’t a viable way forward today. Actually, I’d argue that it is the most viable way forward today based on the successes of SpaceX and the failure of Ares I and SLS (ballooning budgets, slipping schedules, and lack of flying hardware).

  • windbourne

    Exactly right. When CONgress , both Dems and GOP, told NASA how to build SLS, I became a stronger fan of new private space. They are needed to block any action by Congress.

  • windbourne

    Just look at the postings here on a pro-space site. Other than 3 ppl who only occasionally post here ( and hate America as well as nasa ), all others nasa haters are Americans

  • windbourne

    I was a fan of having a COTS program for 2 SHLV. The problem is, that not only is spacex doing BFR mostly on their $, but it appears that BO will do the same. As such, we are likely to see 2 SHLV developed out of new space. If that is the case, then there is no reason for NASA to waste money it. Instead, they can focus on getting another space station provider ( as in 2 of them ), along with smaller needs such as life support systems, etc.
    Ideally, they will do tugs/fuel depot as well.

  • mzungu

    That’s right… It’s about time we get another flavor of Tang. Hahaha…