"Mission Determined by NASA."
The US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee approved a budget bill for NASA on Thursday, which is generally a good thing for the space agency. The law provides $25.04 billion and covers most of NASA's spaceflight priorities, including the Artemis Moon program.
One of the main reasons NASA awarded SpaceX's $2.89 billion prize in April for a human landing system is that the deal provides significant funding for the Starship rocket and its super-heavy booster. This advanced launch system will compete directly with NASA's Space Launch System, which has been built by traditional space contractors and provides thousands of jobs in all 50 states. If the spacecraft succeeds, it is more likely to launch more payloads from the SLS booster, at a much lower cost, all while reusing. In short, this missile should be conceivable in all respects than a NASA SLS missile, except politically.
Of great importance is the fact that the United States Palace has agreed to allocate funding to NASA to support the Starship - the Moon landing on SpaceX based on the modified Starship craft. But that doesn't mean that some members of Congress haven't tried to support the SLS program, which is based at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. Mission Finding for the SLS
Alabama representative Robert Aderholt, one of the SLS's most ardent proponents, proposed a credit law amendment that modified NASA's Human Landing System program. Modified SLS missile supported by upgrades. In the end, the amendment was withdrawn, but it shows how long committed politicians like Aderholt are willing to use exhaustion to save the SLS missile.
The Aderholt patch says that NASA should choose a "second" human landing. The system provider in the next fiscal year, which will necessarily be either a team led by Blue Origin or Dynetics. This is not controversial, because NASA itself wants to add a second provider and intends to do so with the next decade for future missions. However, Aderholt's modification raises several specific demands:It commands the SpaceX spacecraft to fly in the block of the SLS 1B rocket, an advanced version with greater carrying capacity that pays the launch of the SLS Block 1B part of the "price" of the second HLS provider's experimental mission, So NASA should provide the rocket for "free" NASA guidance on investing in more SLS-building capabilities to support higher launch rates (without funding) in some of them from time to time, but by 2032 at the latest, NASA should plan to make one cargo flight At least SLS Block 1B annually. "A mission assigned by the NASA administrator."
This modification provides a two-pronged strategy. The first justifies the billion-dollar cost of upgrading the missile from its original configuration, Block 1, to a larger, more capable missile. This "Block 1B" version includes a new second stage, the upper exploration stage, which will be developed by Boeing over the next five years or so. This obviously appeals to Boeing, which is behind the Aderholt modification, as well as Alabama lawmakers who want nothing more than to host the second decade of development of the SLS rocket. Announcement
Secondly, the mod seeks to create missions for the rocket that cost about $2 billion to launch per flight. (The cost of a high-level exploration unit is likely to be more than $800 million per unit.) To this end, Aderholt attempted to make a second lunar lander to launch the Block 1B SLS rocket.
How does NASA know it needs to complete an annual mission on a payload version of the SLS rocket in 11 years? Of course not.
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