Press Release

It’s Silly Season Again!

By SpaceRef Editor
April 2, 2011
Filed under , ,

Six months into Fiscal Year 2011 the U.S. Congress is still trying to write a budget for a year that’s half over. Down in the weeds of the final “continuing resolution” (CR) will be NASA’s budget for human space exploration. The House-passed CR provides flexibility for NASA to choose the most affordable and sustainable approach. The Senate’s draft CR, which didn’t even pass the Senate, told NASA to build a 130-ton heavy-lift launch vehicle right away… using current contractors and 1970s era technology.

Everyone reading this alert wants NASA to start exploring again. But there are a lot of options for exploration transportation that don’t require paying the huge fixed costs of the Shuttle or Constellation forever. Heavy-lift capabilities can be developed incrementally over time, as we can afford them and are ready to use them.

Our space program needs an open and fair competition among not just different contractors but different and even multiple approaches to see which are the most affordable, most flexible, and most sustainable to develop and operate.

Instead, some in Congress want to make NASA build their favorite rocket, without competition, even though NASA has already told them it can’t be done for the resources available on anything like the timetable Congress wants. It’s time to stop the Congress from mandating the Senate Launch System, and let NASA compete ideas for one (or more) Space Launch System(s).

We can’t afford to repeat the mistakes of Constellation, and just rubber-stamp a pre-selected design for a rocket. No more sole-source, non-competitive procurements for cost-plus contracts!

Every pro-space American should call their Senators and Representative, and tell them that they must encourage NASA to compete the Space Launch System’s design and contracts! This means you!!!

What we’re asking you to do: Call the congressional switchboard (202-224-3121) – when you talk to them, tell them who your Senators and Representative are (or where you live), and they’ll connect you to the appropriate office. Alternatively, look them up at then call or fax their Washington, D.C. office.

How to communicate: Be polite and respectful, but don’t lose your passion. It’s important to avoid swearing or insulting words, but at the same time it’s also important to let the staffer know that this issue is important to you.

What to say: Congress should stop telling NASA what kind of rocket to build, and instead advocate the tried and true American approach of competition. NASA should be encouraged to compete not just the contractors but the best, most affordable ideas for exploration transportation. Anything less will be unaffordable, unsustainable, and un-American.

Thanks for your help!

Bob Werb, Chairman of the Board, Space Frontier Foundation

SpaceRef staff editor.