House Science Committee Approves Measure Designating NASA Marshall as Lead Propulsion Center

The House Science Committee has approved a bill that would designate the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., to “provide leadership for the U.S. rocket propulsion industrial base, and for other purposes.

“It is the sense of Congress that the Marshall Space Flight Center is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s lead center for rocket propulsion and is essential to sustaining and promoting U.S. leadership in rocket propulsion and developing the next generation of rocket propulsion capabilities,” the bill states.

“Erosion of the rocket propulsion industrial base would seriously impact national security, space exploration potential, and economic growth,” the bill states. “The Marshall Space Flight Center has decades of experience working with other Government agencies and industry partners to study and coordinate these capabilities.”

The American Leadership in Space Technology and Advanced Rocketry (ALSTAR) Act was introduced by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who represents Huntsville.

“This bill will ensure the long-term stability of the rocket propulsion industry through better coordination and collaboration between all relevant stakeholders,” Brooks said in a press release. “With Marshall leading the charge to explore and develop new rocket propulsion technology in conjunction with its partners, NASA can inspire the next generation to look to the stars and aspire to do the impossible.”

  • jpo234

    Does this have any practical meaning

  • Dave Erskine

    Er, well, yes…. gotta keep the heat on to keep the jobs in “My Alabama Home”. Good Ol’ Mo! Snark!

  • therealdmt


  • Mr Snarky Answer

    Ha! Lead in propulsion, more like lead in your pants. ORSC methane in Van Horn and FFSC methane in McGreggor. Texas has whole lots more advanced propulsion than that pork sandwich could ever dream of.

  • Terry Stetler

    Not to mention SpaceX developed a new alloy for Raptor’s oxygen-rich side which they say won’t fry.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Institutions like this should be focusing on high Isp high delta V propulsion. Nuclear thermal, solar thermal, jet arc etc. The book is probably written on ascent to orbit. It’s Meth/LOX and probably will be for decades. If the Meth/LOX engines ever really become the high pressure staged combustion monsters with 4k psi chamber pressures with vac Isp of 380, that’s it. That will serve Earth launch for decades.

  • Michael Halpern

    Probably not

  • Michael Halpern

    Basically if it does anything it ensures funding for msfc after sls

  • Jeff2Space

    We’re finally catching up with Russian’s metallurgy used in oxygen rich staged combustion engines after 50 years. No thanks to “NASA Marshall, Lead Propulsion Center”. SMH.

  • Bulldog

    Completely agree and therein lies the problem with a Congressional benefactor. When you are protected you don’t have to innovate to maintain your preeminent position. Eventually someone who is hungrier and more agile comes along and eats your lunch despite your patron’s best efforts. It is the ultimate unintended consequence.

  • Michael Halpern

    I looked at the Alabama pork legislation and it doesn’t really DO anything, its all bark, if it actually did anything i im pretty sure it would violate higher laws

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    Most importantly SpaceX and Blue Origin are mission driven. They take concrete steps in pursuit of a goal, not a congressionally mandated and vacuous platitude.

  • Michael Halpern

    Meanwhile Russian metallurgy seems to be degrading (improper alloys anyone). Anyways if you look at the legislation it doesn’t actually DO anything, just gives a somewhere biased general description of MSFC’s activities and history.

  • P.K. Sink

    Feeble. Spacex has single-handedly reduced the Alabama Mafia from roaring giants to pathetic has-beens.

  • Michael Halpern

    All it’s really doing is trading favors for votes, but in a way that doesn’t really get anything done it might make MSFC harder to shut down, but all NASA centers are hard to shut down. To MSFC’s credit they do investigate the more exotic propulsion concepts as well as ones that are infeasible for commercial entities to investigate, a while back a NASA patent was released about an ion engine that uses metal oxide dust as propellant, the case propellant was lunar regolith.

  • duheagle

    The fact that Brooks feels the need to sponsor such a resolution indicates that he, at least, already knows it’s a load of road apples. He’s just sticking up for his bypassed locals for the record. Like many other space-related torches, the one for propulsion has long since passed from OldSpace to NewSpace.

  • duheagle

    Doesn’t ensure it, necessarily, but it puts their dibs in. This is a largely symbolic exercise in metaphorical territory marking by a former Big Dog that is now arthritic, nearly toothless and going blind.

  • Michael Halpern

    Yep they will still do the more exotic propulsion systems, but there’s nothing wrong with that, they might actually put out something useful on occasion, but that has always been a given.

  • publiusr

    Marshall was all about building big rockets-I approve.