Press Release

TEA Party Supports Senators Feinstein and Boxer Demand For Open Competition On SLS Contracts

By SpaceRef Editor
June 6, 2011
Filed under ,

(Cape Canaveral, FL) — TEA Party in Space (TPIS), a non-partisan organization, today publicly praised a letter sent by California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden (link to the letter) about competing NASA’s procurement of the Space Launch System (SLS). TPIS values non-partisan cooperation among all political leaders who seek a successful space program based on fiscal responsibility, limited government, and the competitive free market. TPIS is happy to join with these two Senators who wisely recognize that NASA must compete its contracts to be fair to the tax payers in this time of budgetary crisis.

The letter specifically cites the provisions of the NASA Reauthorization Act of 2010, which calls for only extending existing contracts where “practicable”. But NASA’s own assessment in January showed that the full cost of developing the “reference” Space Launch System recommended by the Act, much of it using existing contracts that were sole source cost plus awards, could not fit in NASA’s budget run out.

“The contract to award the solid rocket motor contract was a carefully disguised earmark that virtually guaranteed the work to Alliant Techsystems (ATK) of Utah. Basically, Congress tried to earmark $12 billion for existing Shuttle and Constellation contractors. But California’s Senators are standing up for all of its taxpayers in saying ‘no, you must compete this'” said Everett Wilkinson, spokesperson for TPIS. “It is time to bring competition and fiscal sanity back into the NASA procurement system.”

Congress should instruct NASA to forgo its traditional cost plus contract procurement model and bid the Space Launch System in an open competition and only award fixed price contracts with specific milestones that must be met before payment. It is our hope more members of Congress will build on the example set by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and join with TPIS to fight for a space program we can afford and which actually leads America into space.

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TEA Party in Space (TPIS), is a non-partisan organization dedicated to educating the American people and their elected representatives in applying the core principles of fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets to the rapid and permanent expansion of American civilization into the space frontier, focusing on strategies for privatization, deregulation, and appropriate technology development partnerships between government institutions and the private sector. TEA Party in Space is proud to be part of a coalition of individual tea party groups with Tea Party Patriots. For more information, visit

Tea Party Patriots, Inc. (“TPP”) is a non-partisan, non-profit social welfare organization dedicated to furthering the common good and general welfare of the people of the United States. TPP is the original and largest national grassroots tea party organization that is composed of over 2700 individual tea party groups. There are over a 130 tea party groups in Florida. TPP furthers this goal by educating the public and promoting the principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets. Tea Party Patriots has not endorsed candidates for public office. For more information, visit

SpaceRef staff editor.