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The developmental engineering successes of the new commercially-built private spaceships, Dragon, CST-100, and Dream Chaser, appears to be winning over Congress.
The article linked above is mostly about Boeing’s effort with its CST-100 spaceship, but within it was this significant paragraph:
Last week, the House Appropriations committees approved $500 million and Senate appropriators $775 million for commercial crew development as part of NASA’s 2014 budget. The first figure is well below the Obama administration’s $821 million request, a figure NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has characterized as essential to meet the 2017 objective. Nonetheless, agency and company managers believe legislators are losing their skepticism over a program that has so far committed $1.4 billion to competing vehicle designs from SpaceX, Sierra Nevada, Boeing and others. [emphasis mine]
Congress is still insisting that NASA spend far more for the Space Launch System (SLS), but they do appear to be increasingly less interested in cutting the new commercial crew program. Eventually, a light will go off in their dim brains and they will realize how much more cost effective this program is compared to SLS. I expect this to happen sometime in the next three years, It is then that SLS will die.
Note that I don’t have any problems at all with the above cuts to the commercial program. It is far better to keep these private efforts on a short leash, thereby forcing the companies to stay lean and mean, than to give them a blank check (as has been done in the past and with SLS) and thus allow them to become fat and lazy.