Washington swamp creature hints that SLS could be in trouble

Week Four: Ninth Anniversary Fund-Raising Drive for Behind the Black

The fourth week of my annual anniversary fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black has begun.

I once again must thank the many readers and listeners who have generously donated this month. Right now there is a chance this will be the best fund-raiser ever, though only if a lot of people donate during the month's last ten days. If you want to help me continue my reporting, you can give a one-time contribution, from $5 to $100, or a regular subscription for as little as $2 per month.

For one time donations via Paypal, click here:

To pick a subscription option via Paypal, click here:


If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can still support Behind The Black by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today expressed strong disappointment with the repeated delays in the the launch of SLS and Orion, noting that the problems could lead to Congress considering “other options.”

“After all these years, after billions of dollars spent, we are facing more delays and cost overruns,” Smith said. While he noted that some delays were caused by factors out of NASA’s control, like a tornado that damaged the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans in February, “many of the problems are self-inflicted.”

“It is very disappointing to hear about delays caused by poor execution, when the U.S. taxpayer has invested so much in these programs,” he added.

Smith, who announced Nov. 2 he would not run for reelection next year after more than three decades in the House, including serving as chairman of the science committee since 2013, warned about eroding support for the programs should there be additional delays. “NASA and the contractors should not assume future delays and cost overruns will have no consequences,” he said. “If delays continue, if costs rise, and if foreseeable technical challenges arise, no one should assume the U.S. taxpayers or their representatives will tolerate this forever.”

“The more setbacks SLS and Orion face, the more support builds for other options,” he said, not elaborating on what those options would be.

Smith is part of the establishment in Congress that has been supporting SLS and Orion blindly for years. Unfortunately, he is retiring this year, and the other members of his committee did not seem as bothered by SLS’s endless delays.



  • wayne

    George Harrison –
    “Got My Mind Set On You”
    (version 2, 1987)

    “I got my mind set on you…. But it’s gonna take money.
    A whole lot of spending money. It’s gonna take plenty of money,
    To do it right child.
    It’s gonna take time, A whole lot of precious time.
    It’s gonna take patience and time, um,
    To do it, to do it, to do it, to do it, to do it
    To do it right child.

    And this time I know it’s for real. The feelings that I feel.
    I know if I put my mind to it.
    I know that I really can do it!”

  • geoffc

    This song is just 6 words long, 6 words long. Wierd Al mocking “Got my mind set on you”.

  • wayne

    Good stuff! (totally forgot about the weird Al version!)

  • LocalFluff

    Apparently it is because he is not running again that Smith now speak his mind. I think it reveals that everyone involved have begun to think of SLS and Orion as a big problem.

    If the SLS/Orion won’t fly crew during even the next presidency, I don’t understand why Trump would support it. The same congressmen can be won by getting much more useful NASA jobs projects instead for the same money.

    While SLS superficially looks like the shuttle without the shuttle, a cheap simple and quick stop gap replacement, in fact they redesign EVERYTHING! Even the engines they have in storage. And all infrastructure around it. To start all over from scratch by redesigning exactly every detail, but remaining constrained by a 40 year old legacy design as if it was a historic re-enactment show, tells me that it will not be possible to engineer this thing. It can never fly. Congressmen will have to get out of this scandal one way or another. I doubt that Smiths replacement will be an enthusiast.

  • ken anthony

    Watch this pattern to repeat with a slight addition: watch new members say the same thing but change their tune within days or hours while SLS continues for another 20 years.

  • wodun

    The congressman leaves out that some of the high costs and delays are due to congressional requirements like where tests are performed in relation to where production takes place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *