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NASA Government Space The Almighty Buck United States

SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short 132

Posted by Soulskill
from the opportunity-for-real-life-iron-man dept.
schwit1 writes: A GAO report finds that the Space Launch System is over budget and NASA will need an additional $400 million to complete its first orbital launch in 2017. From the article: "NASA isn't meeting its own requirements for matching cost and schedule resources with the congressional requirement to launch the first SLS in December 2017. NASA usually uses a calculation it calls the 'joint cost and schedule confidence level' to decide the odds a program will come in on time and on budget. 'NASA policy usually requires a 70 percent confidence level for a program to proceed with final design and fabrication,' the GAO report says, and the SLS is not at that level. The report adds that government programs that can't match requirements to resources 'are at increased risk of cost and schedule growth.'

In other words, the GAO says SLS is at risk of costing more than the current estimate of $12 billion to reach the first launch or taking longer to get there. Similar cost and schedule problems – although of a larger magnitude – led President Obama to cancel SLS's predecessor rocket system called Constellation shortly after taking office." The current $12 billion estimate is for the program's cost to achieve one unmanned launch. That's four times what it is costing NASA to get SpaceX, Boeing, and Sierra Nevada to build their three spaceships, all scheduled for their first manned launches before 2017.
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SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short

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  • by 0123456 (636235) on Friday July 25, 2014 @01:50PM (#47533579)

    They're short more money than SpaceX spent to develop the Falcon 9.

    • by NotDrWho (3543773) on Friday July 25, 2014 @01:52PM (#47533597)

      SpaceX doesn't have to build facilities in every state to appease Congress.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      It stimulates the economy, and our childrens' imaginations.
      Small price to pay.
      especially considering it's tech, one of things we excel at in America.

      • by Rockoon (1252108) on Friday July 25, 2014 @02:20PM (#47533815)

        It stimulates the economy

        So we meet again. [investopedia.com]

        • Excuse me, those aren't windows you're looking at, they're rockets. haha what do you propose, giving to welfare? What a joke.

      • I'll go through this with you one step at a time.

        For the same price, NASA could have SpaceX build and launch ten rockets.
        That would be ten times as many scientific experiments launched or whatever good thing the rocket is doing.
        Alternatively, they could spend the same money to have SpaceX build ten rockets, then throw nine away and launch one.
        That's virtually exactly the same as what they're doing - taking billions of dollars from taxpayers and ending up with one rocket.
        It ends up exactly the same as throwi

  • pfft, 3.5% overrun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rubycodez (864176) on Friday July 25, 2014 @01:51PM (#47533587)

    if the 400 million is really the only overrun that's an astonishing record for the federal goverment

    • by electrosoccertux (874415) on Friday July 25, 2014 @02:20PM (#47533811)

      if the 400 million is really the only overrun that's an astonishing record for the federal goverment

      of ALL the government programs worth blowing money on, I think NASA should be one of them. It stimulates the economy with relevant tech spending, inspires our children, and sets a rocket ahead of other nations.

      NASA is of the things we can look back at over the last 50 years and be immensely proud of. Proud to a NASA supporting American.

      • by werepants (1912634) on Friday July 25, 2014 @02:36PM (#47533933)
        I agree with you that NASA is a worthy recipient of our tax dollars, but as long as congress keeps mandating that they design rockets based on how many people they can employ in how many districts, we're never going to get out of LEO again. This money would be better spent on commercial crew type programs, with a commercial-off-the-shelf model rather than the chronically over-schedule and over-budget cost plus approach.
      • by Rockoon (1252108)

        It stimulates the economy with relevant tech spending, inspires our children, and sets a rocket ahead of other nations.

        So what you are saying is that if they were $400 billion short instead of only $400 million short, then that would be even better.

        (translation: Your broken window fallacy isnt any more correct the second time that you post it)

      • The goal of NASA is worthy, but the reality is a little off. The people working for NASA are intelligent and capable, but management is a major issue. Not the management at NASA, the management of NASA. There is no reason that politicians, including the president, should have anything to do with assigning the projects that NASA works on. They should just give them a budget and let NASA manage their goals and spending. I can't imagine how demoralizing it is to spend years working on a project that would

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by demachina (71715)

          "I can't imagine how demoralizing it is to spend years working on a project that would ultimately succeed"

          None of NASA's major manned spaced projects are even remotely likely to succeed, they are not intended to do so any more. They are just a place to blow money, create jobs and put money in Lockheed and Boeing pockets. More importantly they buy votes in the critical swing state of Florida.

          They are designed to run 4-8 years, produce nothing except votes, paychecks and contractor profits, then they get ca

          • Lockheed and Boeing also need to be completely removed from the process. They are making a mint milking DOD contracts, they don't need to be in middle of the civilian space program fleecing NASA and taxpayers there too. They do not use money wisely, they devour everything thrown their way and produce as little as possible in return.

            I beg to differ, having worked on the Space Station program for Boeing. Pound for pound the station hardware costs the same to design as passenger airplanes of the same era. That is not surprising, because they are both aluminum structures full of mechanical and electrical components, designed by the same people, using the same methods and knowledge base. The big difference is when Boeing designs a passenger airplane, they typically make 1000 copies. We only made 1 copy of the Space Station hardware. S

            • by demachina (71715)

              I am nearly speechless that you would try to use the ISS as an example of a "success story". It was mind boggling behind schedule and over budget, though turning it in to an international project is partially to blame. The core is based on existing Russian design. If they had just launched that and kept it simple it would have cost a tiny fraction of what it did and accomplished nearly all the science ISS has done.

              The fundamental problem with the ISS is its bled NASA and the manned space program white. N

        • "no, see, you SpaceX just proves politicians should be MORE involved...."

    • by easyTree (1042254)

      if the 400 million is really the only overrun that's an astonishing record for the federal goverment

      The 400 million is the funding they'll need to accurately calculate the overrun.

    • It's not over they'll be asking for more. I support NASA as my friend is a NASA rocket scientist and he is far from rich. He figures out amazing solutions I'd never think of. I also have another friend that manufactures for NASA (by contracts) and he's rolling in money and has 2 huge houses. It's their efficiency and spending ways that make me rage not the projects.
    • by Shag (3737)

      if the 400 million is really the only overrun that's an astonishing record for the federal goverment

      This. Compared to the James Webb Space Telescope - a ten-year, $500 million project that has turned into a 21-year, $8.8 billion project so far, that's chickenscratch.

      (But I still want them to finish JWST and launch it.)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ah, I see the problem!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You can not compare spacex vehicles with the damn SLS. The SLS is a deep space vehicle. When spacex is building a vehicle to send to mars or beyond, then yes, they can compare the SLS to spacex A manned launch into low earth orbit is not even close to deep space. Not bashing SpaceX, but apples and oranges here...

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Friday July 25, 2014 @02:03PM (#47533683)

      The SLS is a deep space vehicle.

      Uh, no, it's not. There's nothing 'deep space' about SLS that's not 'deep space' about Falcon 9. You can launch a deep space probe on Falcon 9, and you could launch a deep space probe on SLS if it's ever built.

      SLS, as designed, is just a very expensive way to put 70 tons into orbit. Maybe, at some point, if Congress funds it, it might become a very expensive way to put 100-130 tons into orbit. Well before then, Falcon Heavy should be putting 50 tons into orbit for less than 5% of the cost of an SLS launch.

      • Not to mention, by the time SLS block II happens (if ever) SpaceX will likely have been flying on their giant methane-based Raptor engine for years. We're talking 100 tons+ to MARS, forget LEO.
      • True.

        But the SLS should be able to lift twice as much as SpaceX's future Falcon Heavy and 10 times the current Faclon 9. If we want to launch man into deep space, we are going to need something close to SSL than the Falcon 9.

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          True.

          But the SLS should be able to lift twice as much as SpaceX's future Falcon Heavy and 10 times the current Faclon 9.

          Nope. The SLS will launch up to 70 tons. It may one day launch more, but that'll require a whole load more development funding.

          If we want to launch man into deep space, we are going to need something close to SSL than the Falcon 9.

          Nope. You just need more launches. If NASA are going to send humans to Mars, they're not going to do it with a single 130 ton launch.

          • by alexander_686 (957440) on Friday July 25, 2014 @04:49PM (#47534943)

            Yes, the SSL will start at 70t and move forward to (maybe) 155t.

            But no, 10 13 ton lauches of the Falcon 9 does probabbly does not get you the same thing as a single lauch of 130t. Assemble is a issue. Some things are better built and have less wastage in large intergated units on the ground than assempbled in space.

            We should compare apples to apples, not oranges. Which leads me to my biggest gripe about NASA (and by extension, the American government) – their plans are so murky and ill defined. Each stage of the program was like a rung on a ladder – leading to the eventual goal. How does the ISS fit into going to Mars? How does the SLS? How come we are always punting this thing down the road by 20 years. It is almost a program in search of a mission. Please don't take this as an attack on basic science and research – just how NASA does it.

            • by khallow (566160)

              Please don't take this as an attack on basic science and research â" just how NASA does it.

              Which thing? Your post or how NASA "does it"?

            • Yes, the SSL will start at 70t and move forward to (maybe) 155t.

              The 70 ton version won't be finished until at least 2021, work won't start on the >130t version until after 2032. The "Block 0" version might fly by 2017 (if, the GAO reports, they receive more funding.)

              Falcon Heavy likewise is supposed to fly by 2015. So allowing for the usual SpaceX delays, probably around 2017/2018, same as SLS-Block-0.

              The difference is, Falcon Heavy will cost the tax payers almost nothing to develop and less than $100m p

    • by durrr (1316311)

      The SLS is not a deep space vehicle. It's a vehicle to divert tax payer money into the pocket of private enterprises that give a share to politicians. Assuming it ever takes off, it'll be an outdated overpriced piece of shit.


      • The SLS is not a deep space vehicle. It's a vehicle to divert tax payer money into the pocket of private enterprises that give a share to politicians. Assuming it ever takes off, it'll be an outdated overpriced piece of shit.

        Understanding this provides predictive capability - that there's basically zero chance that the project will be canceled or defunded, for the reasons you stated.

    • Wasnt Elon Musk saying that he could send people to Mars for a fraction the cost of SLS or a NASA system and that he was going to work on the problem?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Was that before or after he finds cures for all diseases, solves the worlds energy and transportation problems and turns water into wine?

        If Elon was really smart he'd start a church given how much people on slashdot worship him.

        • If Elon was really smart he'd start a church given how much people on slashdot worship him.

          I do not worship him. I "like" him though. He became a billionaire and decided to build rockets and electric cars amongst other things. Every other billionaire is boring as hell, just trying to collect more money: Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, the Walton family, etc etc. What the fuck are they doing? Reveling in luxury and power. What is Elon Musk doing?

          Yeah, there is a reason Elon Musk is talked about more than most other billionaires... well, talked about positively anyways. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer have

      • by Guspaz (556486)

        He did state publicly that he promised NASA that he could build a rocket comparable to the SLS on a fixed-price $2 billion contract (meaning NASA would not pay a dime for budget overruns), although that price didn't include any second-stage upgrades NASA might require to meet its needs.

        SpaceX is actually going ahead with their SLS-like competitor (Codenamed "BFR", I think you can guess what that stands for), and they're supposed to start testing on the methane-powered engines (Raptor) soon, which are suppos

    • by gman003 (1693318)

      The phrase "deep space vehicle" is misleading - it's the payload, not the launcher, that has to be deep-space. However, the SLS is a heavy lift vehicle (70Mg to LEO for the Block I configuration, 130Mg in Block II), while Falcon 9 is a medium lift vehicle (10Mg to LEO). However, the planned Falcon 9 Heavy is also a heavy lift vehicle (53Mg to LEO), and seems much more likely to actually fly.

      For comparison on those numbers, the Saturn V was 120Mg, the Space Shuttle was 25Mg, Proton is 20Mg, and Delta IV-H (t

    • If wiki is to believed this system will be able to launch heavier payloads to LEO then the Falcon 9 Heavy. However, SpaceX is currently building a reliable track record with the Falcon9. If the Merlin 2 engine concepts were to come to fruition and the Falcon XX was to become a real launch vehicle, Space X would have a system that would completely eclipse the SLS. The original posters argument is incoherent. There's no "deep space." Once in orbit you either have the capacity to increase your velocity to
      • by Guspaz (556486)

        Marlin 2 and Falcon XX were hypothetical, and SpaceX didn't go that direction. They're currently building the Raptor, a methane engine with more thrust than the Saturn V's F-1 engines, and the "BFR", which is basically the same idea as Falcon XX.

    • As an addition to 0123456's reply here, there isn't even a concrete plan yet to use the SLS to launch deep-space manned missions. The orion project, as it's currently being developed and funded, will not send humans outside of Earth orbit.

  • The immediately previous story was about new SSL server rules. I read that, and then reloaded and saw this new story. My first reaction was "why on earth does the 'SSL Project' need anywhere near $400 million dollars?!"

  • sure, the project is expensive but people need to understand there are immense differences between NASA's vehicle and the others. Not to mention all three companies are standing on the shoulders of a giant, NASA, and their projects are all dwarfed by what nasa is attempting to create.

    SpaceX: hopefully delivering the CST-100 version 2, but honestly hasnt contributed a whole lot other than a sexy brand to the effort. CST100 was delivered by Boeing.
    Boeing: not sexy, just practical. a design ripoff of ma
    • suborbital

      You keep using that word - I do not think it means what you think.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      SpaceX will be flying astronauts in their Dragon capsule. I believe the CST100 is designed to be Falcon-compatible, but it's unlikely to ever fly on one.

      As for SLS, there isn't a single budgeted mission outside low orbit. And there's not likely to be, when it will cost billions of dollars every time it flies, due to the high development costs, low flight rate, and standing army and facilities required to launch it.

      • There is a list of purposes for the creation and funding of the SLS. The last on the list is to launch things into space. The nickname, I am sure many of you know, is the Senate Launch System.
      • ' when it will cost billions of dollars every time it flies, due to the high development costs, low flight rate, and standing army and facilities required to launch it.'
        This is as I understand it a vile calumny on the SLS program.
        Most realistic estimates say it's only going to cost one billion per launch, not several.

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          Most realistic estimates say it's only going to cost one billion per launch, not several.

          It's going to fly once every couple of years, if you're lucky. It's going to require thousands of people to prepare it for launch. It's going to require all the facilities for those thousands of people, and more who aren't involved in the launch, but are involved in the rest of the program.

          If you think NASA can fund that for $500,000,000 a year, I've got a bridge you might like to buy. Remeber, a shuttle launch didn't cost $1,500,000,000 because of the variable costs of each launch, it cost that much becaus

    • Sierra Nevada: building what nasa did 30 years ago, this is designed for cargo and people. it is strictly suborbital. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      they make a great beer [beeradvocate.com] though! The hops alone will send you to the moon!

    • sure, the project is expensive but people need to understand there are immense differences between NASA's vehicle and the others. Not to mention all three companies are standing on the shoulders of a giant, NASA, and their projects are all dwarfed by what nasa is attempting to create.

      SpaceX: hopefully delivering the CST-100 version 2, but honestly hasnt contributed a whole lot other than a sexy brand to the effort. CST100 was delivered by Boeing.

      What the hell? SpaceX has the Dragon (and Dragon 2), not the CST100. SpaceX has had several successful, on-schedule, on-budget flights of the Dragon for cargo (including safe reentry) which has demonstrated the functionality of many subsystems that will be used in the manned version. The Dragon 2 has potential to be the safest manned capsule of the bunch - it can abort at literally any point in the launch profile, land with pinpoint accuracy, and has a strong enough heatshield for a return from Mars. Not to

    • by fremen (33537)

      Sierra Nevada: building what nasa did 30 years ago, this is designed for cargo and people. it is strictly suborbital. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      30 years ago NASA was building space shuttles. If Sierra Nevada were doing that, I would be impressed.

    • by gman003 (1693318) on Friday July 25, 2014 @04:12PM (#47534723)

      You are factually wrong on several counts.

      SpaceX is not working on any version of the CST-100, and their only relation is that the CST-100 is supposedly designed to be compatible with the Falcon 9 launcher (I have reasonable doubt that will happen). They delivered the Dragon cargo capsule, and are working on the manned Dragon V2.

      Boeing's CST-100 is orbital, not suborbital. Suborbital means it will not complete a single orbit, like a missile.

      Sierra's Dream Chaser is also not suborbital. It also uses many non-NASA technologies, such as the hybrid rocket engines.

      You further have many logical errors, the most persistent being the conflation of the launch vehicle with the crew vehicle. SLS, Falcon 9 and Atlas V are launch vehicles. Orion, Dragon, CST-100 and Dream Chaser are crew vehicles.

      Orion is NASA's crew vehicle (actually, Lockheed Martin's, but I'll get to that in a bit). It is not suitable for missions beyond the Moon - it has a designed mission length of only three weeks (21 days), which is unsuitable for anything beyond Earth orbit. You are correct that manned deep-space missions will need a super-heavy launch vehicle such as SLS, but Orion itself will not be the crew vehicle.

      You also make a mistake in your history. NASA did not produce the Apollo landers or the Saturn V (what I assume you refer to as "what nasa did 30 years ago" or "other NASA firsts"). They set the requirements, and solicited bids from private companies. Just as they're doing now - Orion is being made by Lockheed Martin, the SLS boosters are being made by ATK, Rocketdyne is making the core engines, Boeing is making the upper stage. Really, all NASA is doing is assembling the entire thing, and of course setting the specs and requirements.

      Let's look at the Apollo command module, the closest equivalent to Orion/CST-100/Dragon. It was developed by North American Aviation. They merged with Rockwell-Standard during the 1967 to form North American Rockwell, later renamed to Rockwell International, under which name they produced the Space Shuttle orbiter. The Rockwell International space division was sold in 1996 to... Boeing.

      Boeing isn't "ripping off from NASA firsts". They're building off work that they did for NASA in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. If anything "NASA" is ripping of them, but I remind you that Lockheed Martin is the one actually building the thing you want to attribute to NASA.

      Sierra Nevada is building off SpaceShipOne technology, not any NASA programs. Just because it looks vaguely like the Space Shuttle, that does not mean it actually works the same way. The engines are completely and fundamentally different, as is the aerodynamic design.

      And SpaceX is developing everything on their own. The only thing they used from another company is some software/control design from Tesla Motors, a company not coincidentally also owned by Elon Musk. I personally doubt much was even borrowed there except for the basic idea of a single big touchscreen, but I guess it makes for good brand advertising.

      tl;dr you're wrong in your terminology, you're wrong in your facts, you're wrong in your logic, and you're wrong in your conclusions.

  • Flush it down the drain.

  • by Crashmarik (635988) on Friday July 25, 2014 @02:14PM (#47533765)

    http://www.thespacereview.com/... [thespacereview.com]

    Doesn't the old saying go "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me" ?

    What is it when it is fool me endlessly ? NASA does not bring down the cost of space access period. The shuttle didn't none of their boosters ever have. If we get really lucky we get commercial enterprises able to do end runs around them to actually make a little progress.

    Really we should have NASA do what it is good at, robotic exploration and high risk high payoff research. Let commercial companies do what they are good at mass production and perfecting technologies.

    • by bigpat (158134)
      I hear NASA planning meetings go something like:

      Hey we need to accomplish A Mission, what are all the ways we have done something like that before? blah blah blah mission X, Y, Z blah blah blah. Great! Some of those were great successes. Now let's brainstorm a completely new way of doing something like this that nobody has every thought of before....

      So.... NASA isn't good at perfecting technology, making it efficient and cost effective because that is iterative and evolutionary, but if you need to dream up a new way to land on Mars or do a one-off science experiment, then they have the brain boxes to do it.

      Personally I'd rather see NASA funding other people and institutions doing much of the science and setting some higher level requirements for systems and missions and seeing what different companies ca

    • by GPS Pilot (3683)

      If we get really lucky we get commercial enterprises able to do end runs around them to actually make a little progress.

      Then I guess we've been extremely lucky, because SpaceX has actually made a lot of progress.

    • by easyTree (1042254)

      Really we should have NASA do what it is good at [dilbert.com].

      Going over budget?

    • by trout007 (975317)

      NASA employes about 15k full time employees. That's about $3 Billion out of a $18 Billion budget. All the rest goes to contracts of various types. NASA isn't designing all of SLS. Most is contractors.

  • My problem with NASA isn't the projects as SLS is a decent one. It's how they work, planning is always way off, spending is always high and final products are always late. They really need to figure out a solution to these problems, everytime things like this are released it makes them look bad. 400 mil isn't that much for this project but still could people of such high intelligence not see it coming or find a better way to plan? You know they are going to need more before it even launches. I'm sure it's
    • SLS is NOT a decent project. It's an old-school design based on expensive and outdated tech with known problems! The only thing SLS succeeds at is keeping the same cash flowing to the same congressional districts. That money would be far better spent on commercial crew or developing an entirely new system from the ground up.
    • This isn't just a silly mistake. NASA bases its budgetary decisions on the price sub-contractors give for various jobs. These sub-contractors often give an intentionally misleading cost underestimate.

  • by wgoodman (1109297) on Friday July 25, 2014 @02:32PM (#47533897)

    For how many billions (trillions?) that the F22 has gone over budget, underperformed, and doesn't really have any particular need except politically, 400 million is a drop in the bucket. Give NASA the F22 budget and prepare to be amazed.

    • by Binestar (28861)
      You mean F35. F22 was a success, expensive, sure, but quite successful.
      • At a bare minimum the F35 program was far more of a boondoggle than the F22 program but even it had severe cost overruns (Development ballooned from $12.6 B to $26.3 B, Fighter Construction $149 M to $412), significantly decreased capabilities (high maintenance, canopy degradation) & major design flaws (asphyxiating pilots, flaking off stealth skin). The only reason it didn't cost far more was they only built 187 operational aircraft, far less than originally intended, because it was FAR cheaper to sim

  • 5 Billion pays for a Mars Sample Return mission 5 Billion pays for two Europa Clipper missions Manned spaceflight is such a scam but NASA is hopelessly in the bag for manned pork. All the top management are ex-flyboys. Ugh. Hopeless
  • And people get mad when I say NASA has devolved into a collection of risk adverse mid-managers loosely connected to a rusting theme park endlessly replaying clips of their glory days. Their best days are behind them and it's time to think about reorganizing the entire agency.

  • Kill SLS (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GPS Pilot (3683)

    I'm one of the biggest spaceflight enthusiasts you'll find, and I've been saying for years: kill SLS. We'll get more results by using 20% of the money to expand SpaceX contracts, and applying the other 80% toward deficit reduction.

    Musk isn't in it for the money; he enjoys the engineering challenges, and bringing launch costs down by one or more orders of magnitude is one of those challenges. (Yes I realize the irony; despite not being in it for the money, he has become quite wealthy.)

    • We'll get more results by using 20% of the money to expand SpaceX contracts, and applying the other 80% toward deficit reduction.

      80% of SLS devoted to deficit reduction is a trivial change in the deficit (Better to split it between SpaceX and Orbital Sciences and mission development. Allowing $3B per year for mission development, that leaves enough to pay for development of Falcon9R, Falcon9 Heavy, and Orbital's equivalents.

      Or just buy Dragon flights from SpaceX - $5B per year would pay for a Dragon lau

      • by Nimey (114278)

        I suspect grandparent has ideological reasons for wanting to give money to a private contractor rather than a government agency. 80% of NASA's yearly budget will barely slow the deficit's rise, and it's a suspiciously /round/ number.

        • I suspect grandparent has ideological reasons for wanting to give money to a private contractor rather than a government agency. 80% of NASA's yearly budget will barely slow the deficit's rise, and it's a suspiciously /round/ number.

          The private contractor has a track record of delivering far more bang for the buck than the government agency. Yes, I do have an ideology -- because I have observed time and time again that private enterprises operate far more efficiently than the government -- but it is a true ideology with a foundation of factual, objective observations. What is the foundation of your ideology?

          Sorry for using a round number. I don't know why you'd be happier if I had said "apply the other 78.57% toward deficit reductio

          • by Nimey (114278)

            The private contractor has a track record of delivering far more bang for the buck than the government agency. Yes, I do have an ideology -- because I have observed time and time again that private enterprises operate far more efficiently than the government -- but it is a true ideology with a foundation of factual, objective observations

            AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That's adorable, yet so lacking in self-awareness.

  • Its not a rocket. Its racket.

  • Sad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gerardrj (207690) on Friday July 25, 2014 @04:05PM (#47534675) Journal

    NASA to Congress: We want to build a launch system that will be the single most important component in the US presence in space for the nest several generations. We need $20B for it from planning to first launch.
    Congress to NASA: Screw that, you get $12B.
    NASA to Congress: We can almost do it with $12B, we need an additional $400M
    Congress to NASA: Justify the additional $$

    Military to Congress: We need $10B to build a new strike fighter that no-one really wants.
    Congress to Military: Here ya go
    Military to Congress: Oops. We've crashed a bunch of prototypes, and still have major design flaws and systems failures. Another $10B should get us on track.
    Congress to Military: Here ya go
    Military to Congress: Supplier problems, we need another $10B
    Congress to Military: Here ya go

    Why are we so damned willing to spend money to kill people more efficiently and not to do science that positively impacts all our lives every day?

    • by dcollins (135727)

      See: Machiavelli's The Prince.

    • Yes but from what I have heard SLS isn't exactly the best bang for buck and has a lot of pork of its own, nonetheless, it is still small compared to other government waste. SLS has little credibility since basically, its repackaging of the shuttle technologies to keep the boondoggle going. SpaceX has found ways to do things much more cheaply because it can think outside of the box and is not bound into using a certain technology because it gets a congressman a kickback. They can do things based on technica

  • Would NASA be better off discussing launch requirements to SpaceX?
  • "SpaceX, Boeing, and Sierra Nevada to build their three spaceships, all scheduled for their first manned launches before 2017."

    And surprise, surprise. There are serious attempts to pillage that program (CCDev), which is on time, on budget, and (comparatively) insanely cheap, for funds to prop up SLS.

    http://arstechnica.com/science... [arstechnica.com]

  • In the aftermath of the Cold War, the federal government allowed the biggest defense contractors to "consolidate" by going on a feeding-frenzy gobbling-up smaller defense contractors. Now, we essentially have [1] Boeing, [2] Lockheed-Martin, and [3] Northrop-Grumman (there are many little subcontractors and vendors on small niche items, but for any significant weapons system we have just those 3 vendors. As a further wrinkle, those three vendors (for whatever reason, I have my suspicions but I cannot read

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You would never know it from the summary above.

    http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664970.pdf

  • Stop funding the global warming cargo cultists. Use that money for SLS.

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