Poised on the cusp of these new systems, we run the risk of being penny wise and pound foolish as we make the same mistake that doomed the space shuttle to much higher cost operations: starving a spacecraft development program in the name of saving a few pennies for today’s budget bottom line resulting in the compromised systems that, if they fly at all, will not be cheap enough to enable business in space….
Currently, the commercial space effort stands uncomfortably close to the brink of financial starvation. Deep space transportation development is being stretched out by similar restrictions. Business is looking to see if the government is serious about providing the critical support or whether this effort will be wasted as so many earlier government programs which withered away on the very cusp of success: National Launch System, Orbital Space Plane, and others.
Hale’s full testimony is reproduced after the break.