Pick a destination already!

A report issued today illustrates once again to me that those running our space program in both Congress and the Obama administration have a profound lack of common sense or basic intelligence:

The NASA Advisory Council (NAC) – a body that provides the NASA Administrator with counsel and advice on programs and issues of importance to the Agency – has insisted a human exploration plan, or at least a destination, should be selected as soon as possible.

This request specifically applies to the Space Launch System (SLS), the heavy-lift rocket mandated by Congress that will use the Orion capsule. SLS is also the same rocket system that is costing the taxpayers $3 billion per year, and is expected to cost between $18 to $60 billion total by the time it flies its first operational mission in about nine years. The advisory council also noted that

While the vehicle hardware development is now moving forward at full speed, specific destinations – or a roadmap – is still lacking from NASA’s exploration plan.

It took nine different committees plus a central committee formed from the original nine committees to come to this Earth-shattering conclusion.

To put it in plain English, Congress and the Obama administration have committed billions of taxpayer dollars to the construction of a rocket and manned capsule without ever putting much thought into the specific mission they want to send that rocket and capsule on.
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