A NASA veteran slams SLS.


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A NASA veteran slams the Space Launch System (SLS).

The problem with the SLS is that it’s so big that makes it very expensive. It’s very expensive to design, it’s very expensive to develop. When they actually begin to develop it, the budget is going to go haywire. They’re going to have all kinds of technical and development issues crop up, which will drive the development costs up. Then there are the operating costs of that beast, which will eat NASA alive if they get there. They’re not going to be able to fly it more than once a year, if that, because they don’t have the budget to do it. So what you’ve got is a beast of a rocket, that would give you all of this capability, which you can’t build because you don’t have the money to build it in the first place, and you can’t operate it if you had it.

Q: What do you see as the alternative?

A: In the private sector we’ve got an Atlas and a Delta rocket, and the Europeans have a rocket called the Ariane. The Russians have lots of rockets, which are very reliable, and they get reliable by using them. And that’s something the SLS will never have. Never. Because you can’t afford to launch it that many times.

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5 comments

  • Unfortunately, he then starts making stuff up.

    Most in Congress want to see NASA go back to the moon. So do nearly all of the scientific and technical organizations in the world.

    Most in Congress don’t care what NASA does. What scientific organization would that be? Certainly not the United States National Research Council, which has punted on even robotic exploration of the Moon in every decadal survey. It’s hard to even make the case that there was scientific organization support for Apollo.

    There’s no reason why you couldn’t set up a factory on the moon to build solar panels. You could provide enough electrical power on the moon from solar cells, and eventually you could supply enough power for half the people on Earth with a solar cell farm on the moon.

    My eyes just rolled so hard, they nearly fell out.

  • wade

    i have been saying this about the SLS since its introduction. it is a Money Pit to No Where

  • I would not have cited the Russians as an example of reliable launchers, though that certainly was the case for a long while.

  • mike shupp

    It actually was a very short interview — about five minutes of speech, I’d guess, probably conducted via telephone. So Kraft wasn’t making a detailed presentation of well developed plans for future space exploration and exploitation, but just tossing out a few lines to suggest to non-space buffs that manufacturing and other uses of space resources might prove practical in the future. I wouldn’t kick.

  • Hey, there’s a reason why everyone is selectively quoting him.

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