Space Launch System Could Finally Stop

It could finally be the beginning of the end for the Space Launch System/Orion. The Office of Management and Budget March 11 propose to defer work on the Block 1B version of the SLS. Block 1B would increase the rocket’s performance by replacing its existing Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage with the more powerful Exploration Upper Stage.

In 2020, the combined Space Launch System/Orion budget could drop to $3 billion instead of $3.5 billion.

There is also a proposal to launch the Europa Clipper mission on a commercial launcher for $600 million. This would save $700 million instead of launching on a future Space Launch System.

Europa Clipper could probably be launched by the SpaceX Falcon Heavy.

SOURCES – Office of Management and Budget, Space News

25 thoughts on “Space Launch System Could Finally Stop”

  1. I would value it if it wasn’t so flooded with politicization. And why attack me when the issue isn’t even this, but what Congress actually has NASA around to do?

  2. Elon always intended for SpaceX to surpass and replace NASA. He didn’t name it Space EXPLORATION Technologies for nothing.

  3. NASA has lost its soul. Just a jobs program for engineers and a propaganda machine for bogus global warming scam.

  4. People have got to realise that NBA doesn’t value fundamental scientific research. Doesn’t understand that the the technology drooled over at this site relies on continuous progress in fundamental science and that applications cannot be predicted. Thinks Universities are just left wing think tanks.

    From that standpoint, is there really much point in engaging him?

  5. You mean like Islamic Outreach programs under Obama?

    And no, it doesn’t do an ‘excellent job’. No government program does. Being the only ones doing a job does not equate to doing it excellently simply because competition doesn’t exist to prove otherwise.

  6. NASA is doing an excellent job exploring , designing and operating probes and telescopes that are moving our Science limits in Astronomy, Astrophysics, Biology, weather etc., your comment is not fair.

  7. There is a very good reason to Go to Europa. It is one of 2 moons that may support life in a subsurface ocean. The other moon is Saturns moon Enceladus. Enceladus has geysers ejecting water into space. The Cassini space probe detected salt and hydrocarbons in the cassini water. The photographs of Europa indicate there is a very strong chance it also has a subsurface ocean. There is also some evidence that Europa also has geysers but we don’t yet have photographic evidence of it.

    Sending a probe to Callisto is not very useful. it is nothing more than rock and ice. Yes it can support human settlement. But there is very little of scientific interest in it. Also the Galaleo space probe has extensively studied it.

  8. It’s starting to sound like the “savings” will get eaten up in budget cuts and some reshuffling to LOP-G (AKA the lunar gateway station) though.

  9. Hahah…but most of it WILL BE ABOLISHED if we moved forward with such reforms.

    The result would be better tho.

  10. The argument isn’t about why NASA exists or continues to exist…

    Yes it is. At least this is what I read in the comment I was responding to:

    Wachter: NASA need to end.

    As for what else you wrote:

    it’s about the actual value it produces for society

    That’s a Squeegee Man argument. In other words, as the Squeegee Man demands payment for the value of services rendered that you didn’t ask for, so is your argument.

    NASA does produce benefits. But they are not the ones it is tasked to produce in the minds of the public. Nor does it do so for the best NET value provided, given all the graft and inefficiencies.

    Most of NASA could be cleaned up simply by getting it out of the space operations & pork biz as others here have mentioned. It should just contract out like it started to do under Obama. It should still do exploration and R & D for tech, but that’s it.

  11. Entirely possible, but that’s a much different argument from “NASA does nothing and should be abolished,” which is the statement I was responding to.

  12. NASA gives a very valuable public service to the USA and to the world, just by taking new blue sky technologies from mere concepts into growing technical readiness levels, and up to physical demonstrators. And by researching and producing scientific knowledge that has no immediate market value.

    Once any technological demos exist, they should either become standard elements within public projects, but produced by commercial providers receiving a technology transfer, or become services by themselves.

    Rockets are conceptually old tech. They have been proven to work for decades, albeit the new batch of reusable rockets could bring real novel capabilities to the table.

    Rockets should definitely be COTS by now, with fixed price contract awards allowing NASA or anyone to just plan some budget for all their launch and logistics needs, not depending on an in-house solution that may or may not come in time.

    And yes, NASA should continue planning to build crewed settlements in extraterrestrial bodies, for research purposes. Those can also be made with the assistance of launch providers.

    But as you say, NASA is in no obligation to ensure anyone can go to space for business and living. That belongs completely to market’s interests and its gradual improvements.

  13. The argument isn’t about why NASA exists or continues to exist, it’s about the actual value it produces for society. Which quite a lot, as you suggest.

  14. Yeah, I think he does.

    The role of NASA is to generate jobs and contracts to as many congressional districts as possible. Period. Anything else it does that might actually add worth is nice…but not the real reason why NASA exists.

  15. Ha! This is just a bunch of finagling on who gets what government graft contract, is all.

    But the graft will continue!

    They’ll shut down the TSA first.

  16. With electric ion thrusters and proven EOR and refueling, is anything of this size actually needed for anything other than manned space? Deep space missions would be launched as two payloads – mission hardware and propellant. Propellant is dense and cheap, so can be sent on the cheapest possible launch system (e.g., F9 on it’s 12th launch).

  17. I disagree that NASA should end, but I get your point. If SpaceX had NASA’s budget, minus the bureaucracy and political interference, they could accomplish a lot. Heck, if NASA had NASA’s budget, without the bureaucracy and political interference, they could accomplish a lot. It’s not the people at NASA’s fault, it’s the government they’re attached to.

    NASA will never get humans into space in large numbers, it will be private industry that accomplishes that. We need tens of millions, not hundreds, of people in space and that will never be NASA driven. I’m too old now to ever go to space (50+ and wrong skill set), but my son is 1 year old and has a chance. I would like to do everything I can to make sure he has that chance.

  18. Thank God, if a billion or two from the savings ends up going to Spacex the payoff will be 100 times over.

  19. NASA’s launchers and their sweetheart cost plus contracts must end. The rest of NASA producing pretty interesting space science and technology is fine and should continue.

    All launches should be handed off to COTS fixed prize contractors with a credible record of launches.

  20. NASA need to end. Its old bureaucracy eats many billions of dollars with little or to no return on investment.

  21. NASA really doesn’t need the Block IB EUS since the Block I will be able to launch at least 70 tonnes to LEO and up to 95 tonnes to LEO with the ICPS. And any enhanced SLS capability beyond the ICPS could be achieved by using the ULA’s Centaur V which should be available by 2022.

    There’s no logical reason to waste a super heavy lift vehicle to launch a mission to a Jovian moon (Europa) that NASA shouldn’t be going to in the first place. Callisto is the most valuable moon in the Jupiter system since its the only moon that’s viable for potential human colonization and industrialization.

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