Wednesday, June 8, 2011

SLS: Why Even Build It?

Why even build it?

That's the question posed by Orlando Sentinel reporter Mark Matthews in an article published June 7.

With Congress struggling to control spending, critics are wondering whether the country needs a new spaceship that lacks both a mission and destination except for occasional trips to the International Space Station.

"I don't think we need it. I don't think we can afford to operate it. I think it will be rarely used and expensive to maintain," said Alan Stern, a former NASA associate administrator. "The most likely possibility is that it [the rocket] is unfortunately going to collapse under its own weight in a couple years."

Matthews noted that "One architect of the compromise bill, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., did not respond to repeated requests for an interview to discuss his goals for the new rocket. Nelson, a senior space-policy figure on Capitol Hill thanks to his 1986 flight aboard a shuttle, is running for re-election in a state that will lose 7,000 jobs once the shuttle is retired."

Yesterday's blog: Is Heavy Lift Necessary?

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