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Transcript Regarding Fuel Depots, Hearing on "A Review of NASA's Space Launch System"

Status Report From: U.S. House of Representatives
Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012

image Hearing on "A Review of NASA's Space Launch System"

Before the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, United States House of Representatives The Honorable RALPH M. HALL, Chairman of the Committee, presiding

Witness: CHARLES F. BOLDEN JR., Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration 10:05 a.m. to 12:23 p.m., EST Tuesday, July 12, 2011

2318 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C.

CHAIRMAN HALL: Ms. Johnson and I have agreed to give Mr. Rohrabacher one minute additional.

REPRESENTATIVE ROHRABACHER: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIRMAN HALL: Ten seconds is gone.

REPRESENTATIVE ROHRABACHER: Okay.

[Laughter.]

REPRESENTATIVE ROHRABACHER: Let me just note that I am for human presence and the enterprise and utilization and even human settlement in space. I'm not so sure about human exploration versus robotic exploration. But the question I have for you that I wanted to make sure we got this down, the development costs of actually achieving a refueling capability which would give us further capabilities in space, how does that match up with the cost, with the new cost of developing a new huge rocket? Could we is it about the same? Is it less, or what's the --

ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: Congressman, I'll have to take that for the record because that is a study that I'm certain is somewhere, you know, over in the Headquarters Building, but I'm not aware of it. I have not asked for that information, but I'll get it to you.

REPRESENTATIVE ROHRABACHER: I would appreciate that, because it does go right to the heart of the matter of what strategy we will have, of whether yo have to launch right from the Earth with everything or whether or not we should start developing the capabilities of refueling and then going on with further missions that wouldn't necessarily require a huge rocket but requires that much fuel.

ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: I don't have the answer, and I'll get it for the record. But I will tell you in the ongoing evaluation that I asked in coming to the conclusion that I did on the SLS, we looked at multiple scenarios, one of which was, you know, flight to Earth orbit or what we call an "Earth orbit rendezvous," and it turned out that that was not as economical nor as reliable as the single flight beyond Earth orbit rendezvous, the way that we envision it now.

REPRESENTATIVE ROHRABACHER: Thank you very much.

ADMINISTRATOR BOLDEN: But we'll get you the information.

CHAIRMAN HALL: The gentleman has a promise. The gentleman's time is up.

// end //

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