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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.