Author Topic: Admin proposes end of EUS - considers full Exploration manifest rewrite  (Read 11847 times)

Offline clongton

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I don't think that makes a good argument as to why SLS has not flown.

SLS has not flown because the good Senator from Alabama is in no hurry to stop Boeing from paying huge paychecks to thousands of voters workers. The longer it takes to fly, the more votes are assured paychecks get distributed, ensuring a successful reelection campaign.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline envy887

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FH was announced in 2010, only flew in 2018 and they were starting with flight proven F9 core and US.

FH was announced in April of 2011. It flew 6 years and 9 months later, while growing ~50% in size and gaining capabilities like 10x booster reuse, and while only having $500 million in development funding.

SLS's design was signed into law on October 11, 2010. It's unlikely to fly within 11 years of that date, despite starting with main propulsion already flying, SRB and upper stage designs already done, and no advancement in capability over the course of development. And it's going to cost some $13,000 million in development funding.

So, yes, FH is really a rather good example of how to do heavy lift rocket development.
« Last Edit: 03/21/2019 01:58 am by envy887 »

Online ncb1397

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FH was announced in 2010, only flew in 2018 and they were starting with flight proven F9 core and US.

FH was announced in April of 2011. It flew 6 years and 9 months later, while growing ~50% in size and gaining capabilities like 10x booster reuse, and while only having $500 million in development funding.

>$500 million ("probably")

But you are comparing apples and oranges.

1.)SLS is a rocket family with development money being spent on multiple variants. You aren't counting anything else in the Falcon family.
2.)It is human rated with all that entails (including 40% margins that hurts payload)
3.)has more throw capacity despite that
4.)SRB and main propulsion were not done. Changes and testing have continued since 2010 including 5 segment qualification tests and RS-25e development.
5.)It was funding development activities that are ending up in other LVs, like ATKs carbon composite SRBs that aren't being used in this family.
6.)Falcon Heavy development isn't complete when that figure was quoted. The operational variant hasn't flown.
7.)As far as I can tell, the SLS account is paying for a portion of a national agency's payroll and facilities costs. Falcon Heavy isn't funding the state department or NOAA or whatever.
8.)If Falcon Heavy has Falcon 9 launch reliability and SLS has Shuttle launch reliability, SLS will be twice as reliable (assuming that nothing goes wrong up to Falcon 9 flight #135). Of course you can skimp on developmental testing to get the development budget low and do all that stuff in flight with customer paylaods.

Its exactly the opposite of what you state. Falcon Heavy's quoted price doesn't include propulsion development and SLS budget does. But your statement is exactly the opposite.
« Last Edit: 03/21/2019 05:35 am by ncb1397 »

Offline Coastal Ron

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1.)SLS is a rocket family with development money being spent on multiple variants.

I've been following the SLS since it was born, and this is the first time I've heard it referred to as a "rocket family". As of today only one version of the SLS is being funded, so I think it's inaccurate to say they are building an entire family. For instance, there is only one version of the engine "boat-tail" that is planned, and the core is common across all versions.

Can you show where they are spending money on hardware that is for future variants?

Quote
2.)It is human rated with all that entails (including 40% margins that hurts payload)

Falcon Heavy was originally planned to carry humans - remember they had sold the initial flight around the Moon with Falcon Heavy. So yes, it was planned to be human-rate-able.

Quote
3.)has more throw capacity despite that

I think you are ignoring the fact that the SLS was supposed to cost less because it was "Shuttle-derived", yet it's still 5 years behind schedule (and still slipping) and it is on track to have cost more than $20B. Is it 20X better than the Falcon Heavy?

Quote
4.)SRB and main propulsion were not done.

Again, sold as "Shuttle-derived", so this should not have been significant, costly or drawn-out. Yet they are.

Quote
5.)It was funding development activities that are ending up in other LVs, like ATKs carbon composite SRBs that aren't being used in this family.

You'll need to justify that claim, because I don't recall Congress authorizing NASA to fund other launch systems.

Quote
7.)As far as I can tell, the SLS account is paying for a portion of a national agency's payroll. Falcon Heavy isn't funding the state department or NOAA or whatever.

WHAT??? Congress is VERY specific are what is funded with what money, and NO, no money allocated for the SLS program funds the State Department. Where are you getting this?  :o

Quote
Its exactly the opposite of what you state. Falcon Heavy's quoted price doesn't include propulsion development and SLS budget does. But your statement is exactly the opposite.

AGAIN, the SLS was advertised as "Shuttle-derived", meaning it was using the same core engines as the Shuttle, and Shuttle-derived SRM's. Plus the core body was supposed to be a stretch of the Shuttle ET, but I don't think anyone really believed that would happen - but that what's was advertised.

So NO, the SLS was not supposed to be a clean-sheet program with everything brand new. And neither was Falcon Heavy.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online ncb1397

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1.)SLS is a rocket family with development money being spent on multiple variants.

I've been following the SLS since it was born, and this is the first time I've heard it referred to as a "rocket family". As of today only one version of the SLS is being funded, so I think it's inaccurate to say they are building an entire family. For instance, there is only one version of the engine "boat-tail" that is planned, and the core is common across all versions.

Can you show where they are spending money on hardware that is for future variants?


Sure:

Quote
Provided further, That of the amounts provided for SLS, not less than $150,000,000 shall be for Exploration Upper Stage development:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/648/text

Quote
Provided further, That of the amounts provided for SLS, not less than $300,000,000 shall be for Exploration Upper Stage development
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1625/text

Quote
Provided further, That of the amounts
provided for SLS, not less than $300,000,000 shall be for Exploration
Upper Stage development
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/244/text

Quote
Provided further, That of the amounts
provided for SLS, not less than $85,000,000 shall be for enhanced upper
stage development:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2029/text


Online ncb1397

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5.)It was funding development activities that are ending up in other LVs, like ATKs carbon composite SRBs that aren't being used in this family.

You'll need to justify that claim, because I don't recall Congress authorizing NASA to fund other launch systems.


One example would be the CEUS project, which ironically was more applicable to ITS (2016) than the SLS.

Quote
NASA seeks innovative means of reducing launch vehicle mass and increasing payload mass for robust new science and exploration missions into the solar system. The Composites for Exploration Upper Stage project, or CEUS, managed for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, is a ground-demonstration project using lightweight, composite materials in the design, construction and testing of liquid hydrogen tank skirts of the same scale needed for use on NASA's Space Launch System Exploration Upper Stage. The project will validate the manufacturability, structural margins, thermal isolation improvements and inspection techniques of large-scale composite structures for possible use by the Space Launch System and other advanced launch vehicles and space structures.
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/tdm/ceus/index.html

IIRC, one of the contractors for the CEUS project went on to build the ITS 12 meter test tank.

So, I wouldn't compare duck taping 3 rocket stages together with development of brand new rocket structural materials. SpaceX was going to do that but it turned out to be too time consuming and expensive, so they went with Shuttle Al-Li or Centaurs Steel. Centaur was developed by NASA in the 1950s and 60s. The Shuttle super light weight tank was developed by NASA in the 90s.
« Last Edit: 03/21/2019 06:15 am by ncb1397 »

Offline SBerger

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re: "Centaur was developed by NASA in the 1950s and 60s"

Nope.  Centaur was developed by General Dynamics/Convair Astronautics.  Despite significant resistance by some elements of NASA at the time.

Offline Lobo

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FH was announced in April of 2011. It flew 6 years and 9 months later, while growing ~50% in size and gaining capabilities like 10x booster reuse, and while only having $500 million in development funding.

So, yes, FH is really a rather good example of how to do heavy lift rocket development.

And I think it's safe to say some of of that slip was due to the ever evolving F9 cores it would be made from.  It wouldn't make much sense to have FH made from the original F9 v1.0 or 1.1 cores when F9 continued to evolved.  Then they'd have to go back and redo much of FH to make it work with the later configuration of the cores.

Measure twice, cut once. 

If F9 had never evolved beyond Version 1.0, then likely FH would have been along much sooner. Especially since it would be needed for the heavier EELV class payloads, as originally envisioned to lift.  As F9 kept evolving, it actually grew into the heavy payload range FH was originally conceived to service.  So the immediate need for it for the commercial market kept getting to be less and less.  So no need to have it ready early, but rather wait until the F9 core was at the final version, then make FH.
So at least some of FH's 6.5 years of development time was due to the successes of the F9 cores, rather than due to actual development issues in FH.


Offline edkyle99

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re: "Centaur was developed by NASA in the 1950s and 60s"

Nope.  Centaur was developed by General Dynamics/Convair Astronautics.  Despite significant resistance by some elements of NASA at the time.
Centaur was Convair's idea, derived from Atlas, but it was ARPA money, and then NASA money and program management at Lewis that made it happen.   The original idea turned out to have many, many flaws that had to be fixed, at great cost in funding,  schedule, and burned up test stands.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 03/22/2019 12:28 am by edkyle99 »

Offline Coastal Ron

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1.)SLS is a rocket family with development money being spent on multiple variants.

I've been following the SLS since it was born, and this is the first time I've heard it referred to as a "rocket family". As of today only one version of the SLS is being funded, so I think it's inaccurate to say they are building an entire family. For instance, there is only one version of the engine "boat-tail" that is planned, and the core is common across all versions.

Can you show where they are spending money on hardware that is for future variants?

Sure:
Quote
Provided further, That of the amounts provided for SLS, not less than $150,000,000 shall be for Exploration Upper Stage development:

Probably a difference in terminology, since I don't see an upper stage of the SLS as a "variant", to me it's just a different payload option. To me an SLS variant would be one that changes the core or boosters - keeping in mind that the SLS stages differently than other rockets. But as of today there is no funding to change the core or boosters. YMMV.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Coastal Ron

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5.)It was funding development activities that are ending up in other LVs, like ATKs carbon composite SRBs that aren't being used in this family.
You'll need to justify that claim, because I don't recall Congress authorizing NASA to fund other launch systems.
One example would be the CEUS project, which ironically was more applicable to ITS (2016) than the SLS.

I can't verify that CEUS funding came out of the SLS program, and it's likely it was funded out of an R&D budget, not the SLS development budget.

Also, the INTENT was not to directly transfer this technology to other launchers - SpaceX testing (and rejecting it) as a possible technology was not something that was intended for the SLS program.

Quote
So, I wouldn't compare duck taping 3 rocket stages together with development of brand new rocket structural materials.

The intent of Congress for the SLS was to be "Shuttle-derived", regardless whether it ended up that way.

For Falcon Heavy, the original intent was to "duct tape" three Falcon 9 cores together, but per Elon Musk it turned out to be far harder. For instance, each Falcon Heavy core is unique to Falcon Heavy, and they had to modify Falcon 9 stages so that they could be compatible with Falcon Heavy as boosters, regardless whether they are ever flown on a Falcon Heavy.

Just because you don't see the differences doesn't mean they don't exist.

And it's only because of those differences that Falcon Heavy is now an option for taking away payloads from the SLS.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online ncb1397

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I can't verify that CEUS funding came out of the SLS program, and it's likely it was funded out of an R&D budget, not the SLS development budget.


https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/TChen_TDM.pdf

This slide deck indicates CEUS was a partnership between HEOMD (AES and SLS specifically) and STMD. I believe the Partner column would indicate cost sharing while the team column indicates who is involved and where. Of course, we don't have raw accounting data from NASA and a lot of this is up to interpretation and extrapolation. But AF SMC is on the partner list for GPIM and their role is described more in depth here:

Quote
GPIM will gain access to space as a rideshare payload via a launch service Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center Space Development and Test Directorate (SMC/SDTD) on the Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission
....

The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) is providing support for all mission operations at the
Multi-Mission Satellite Operations Center (MMSOC), Kirtland Air Force Base. In addition to mission operations,
SMC is providing Ground Support Equipment (GSE) to facilitate GPIM AI&T activities.
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20140016837.pdf

This wording suggests some sort of cost sharing arrangement (given launch services, mission operations and GSE are typically a major project expense).

But you make a good point that we shouldn't guess what is going on behind the scenes. That is a double edged sword. For all we know SLS is paying the electric bills at Marshall/Stennis/KSC. From the Augustine report:

Quote
The annual Shuttle budget is approximately $3 billion per year, depending on the number of flights. The retirement of the Shuttle is expected to free funds for the Constellation Program, and the common perception is that with the Shuttle no longer flying, there will be an additional $3 billion per year available for design, development, testing and deployment of the new exploration program. The situation is more complicated, however, and the actual benefit to the Constellation Program is considerably less than $3 billion per year. The principal
reason is that the Shuttle Program today carries much of the costs of the facilities and infrastructure associated with the human spaceflight program as a whole. But those facilities will continue to exist after the Shuttle is retired—so their costs must still be absorbed if the facilities are to be preserved. These fixed costs are significant—about $1.5 billion per year—and include, for example, nearly 90 percent of the costs of running: the Kennedy Space Center; the engine test facilities at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi; a Mission Control Center in Houston; and the Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana. Unless such facilities are mothballed or disposed of, these costs will simply transfer to a different NASA program;
https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/396093main_HSF_Cmte_FinalReport.pdf

It is my interpretation that it is likely these fixed costs got transferred to the exploration account. In the same way that cancelling Shuttle didn't free the entire budget allotment to go to other things as pointed out here, cancelling SLS may only free up a fraction of those funds. It is entirely possible that a significant percentage of the SLS budget would still have been spent whether SLS existed or not - just on under-utilized civil servants and facilities. And if the facilities are disposed up, what facilities would that be. Would vacuum chambers be avialable for dragon V2 in Plum Brook Station? Who knows.
« Last Edit: 03/22/2019 10:02 pm by ncb1397 »

Offline envy887

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FH was announced in 2010, only flew in 2018 and they were starting with flight proven F9 core and US.

FH was announced in April of 2011. It flew 6 years and 9 months later, while growing ~50% in size and gaining capabilities like 10x booster reuse, and while only having $500 million in development funding.

>$500 million ("probably")

But you are comparing apples and oranges.

1.)SLS is a rocket family with development money being spent on multiple variants. You aren't counting anything else in the Falcon family.
2.)It is human rated with all that entails (including 40% margins that hurts payload)
3.)has more throw capacity despite that
4.)SRB and main propulsion were not done. Changes and testing have continued since 2010 including 5 segment qualification tests and RS-25e development.
5.)It was funding development activities that are ending up in other LVs, like ATKs carbon composite SRBs that aren't being used in this family.
6.)Falcon Heavy development isn't complete when that figure was quoted. The operational variant hasn't flown.
7.)As far as I can tell, the SLS account is paying for a portion of a national agency's payroll and facilities costs. Falcon Heavy isn't funding the state department or NOAA or whatever.
8.)If Falcon Heavy has Falcon 9 launch reliability and SLS has Shuttle launch reliability, SLS will be twice as reliable (assuming that nothing goes wrong up to Falcon 9 flight #135). Of course you can skimp on developmental testing to get the development budget low and do all that stuff in flight with customer paylaods.

Its exactly the opposite of what you state. Falcon Heavy's quoted price doesn't include propulsion development and SLS budget does. But your statement is exactly the opposite.

1 - The core stage is the expensive, time-consuming part, and it is explicitly identical in all variants. You can separate out iCPS costs if you want, but that really doesn't improve the comparison on a program basis since it either moves the schedule out  for EUS to more than double FH dev time (13 or 14 years), or reduces performance to LEO and especially BEO if you simply ignore ICPS.

2 - There is no difference here, since FH is designed to be human rated.

3 - Not NEARLY enough more performance to explain the time and cost.

4 - SLS had an engine design done that could and should have been used as it was (ask DIRECT), like FH used M1D straight off of F9 and did not develop a new engine. That NASA decided to completely rework RS-25 for minor cost and performance improvements does not in any way show that SLS was a good development program. It shows the exact opposite.

SRB dev was mostly done. If it wasn't, then they should have been using STS motors to hit the 2016 operational requirement.

5 - Its poor program management to pay for stuff you aren't using. If you were looking examples showing why SLS isn't a terribly run development program, you really aren't supporting that case here.

6 - Quote a figure that you think includes Block 5, and show how it compares to the dev cost of SLS. It certainly didn't cost 25x more.

7- See #5

8 - SLS will never fly enough to support that assumption that it is as reliable as STS with actual data. Of course there is always "engineering judgment", which worked out just dandy for STS...

Offline envy887

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... development of brand new rocket structural materials. ...

Boeing had to do this for the core stage? The core stage is most of the cost and taking the most time. Even if all the other items on SLS cost nothing and were done instantly, the core stage alone would still make it a overly time-consuming and extremely expensive program.

Even developing new weld techniques (never mind new structural materials) was a questionable decision considering the very tight schedule needed to fly the core stage within 6 years.

Offline GWH

Stepping away from the FH vs SLS argument where everything has already been said elsewhere 1000x previously...

My thoughts on SLS current plan:

People lamenting the sudden change to plans with EUS being indefinitely postponed shouldn't be surprised.
The writing was clearly on the wall the minute plans to co-manifest payloads were announced, payloads that are within commercial heavy lift capabilities. With that change SLS's B1B full capacity over Block 1 was doing nothing that an independent launch and payload tug could not.

Decoupling cargo from crew launch is the best thing to happen to the program, regardless of whether or not SLS continues in to the future. If shuttle had taught us anything in regards to cost and planning it should have been that cargo and crew should not be co-manifested. Freeing up SLS to have its sole focus on crew safety and nothing but enables mission planners to optimized for that sole goal alone. Forcing payload readiness and integration along side the already complicated Orion and European Service Module is a surefire way to complicate the mission and make for a very long and convoluted critical path. Now these tasks can be completed in parallel in separate facilities and with wholly separate teams.

EUS was a "nice to have" but it was clearly not mission critical. NASA needs tugs for cargo, and tugs for the lunar lander elements, so why not for Gateway modules? Factor all the added complications including mobile launcher upgrades with its associated delays and IMO the value & utility for EUS was net-negative.

The focus of the entire SLS program now can be singular: deliver crew to Gateway safely. IMO that is a good thing.

As to the future of SLS, if it moves past the gateway mission perhaps a full up block 2 variant can be designed with a specific mission in mind that truly utilizes and necessitates its fully capabilities.


Offline Patchouli

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Using commercial LVs for EM1 would give them capablility of delivering 25t to Gateway. A huge improvement over 10t that was to fly with Orion on 1B launches. Plus its not depended on SLS schedule. Payload can be spread around different LVs including Ariane 6, EDS LV will most likely be fixed. The savings on EUS and  larger Orion+payload fairing should help pay for some of these mission.

The 25t limit allows for rethink of 3 stage lander design.


If they go commercial LVs I think a useful addition would be a fuel depot and space tug.
That way you can design things around the LEO payload of the commercial boosters.
Stuff that needs to go fast can either be sent directly with FH or use an ACES tug while stuff that doesn't need a fast trip can use a SEP tug.
Interestingly the large LM single stage lander should be able to get into orbit,perform TLI, place itself into DRO using just the SLS core and boosters.
Have a SEP tug place a depot there and you're all set.
« Last Edit: 03/22/2019 04:02 pm by Patchouli »

Offline robertross

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I don't think that makes a good argument as to why SLS has not flown.

SLS has not flown because the good Senator from Alabama is in no hurry to stop Boeing from paying huge paychecks to thousands of voters workers. The longer it takes to fly, the more votes are assured paychecks get distributed, ensuring a successful reelection campaign.


Chuck, have things changed so much that the basic premise of politics no longer holds true?

Do people really believe that by cancelling SLS they will somehow win the next election?
Following US politics for some time, it seems Florida holds a particularly large number of voters that could swing an election.

I don't know, I have a feeling that this is just another desperate attempt by those in power to thump their chests and look important; but at the end of the day, what really matters is jobs, money, and votes - and too much of that seems tied to the space/aerospace industry to have a big progam shut down.

my 2 cents
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Online libra

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re: "Centaur was developed by NASA in the 1950s and 60s"

Nope.  Centaur was developed by General Dynamics/Convair Astronautics.  Despite significant resistance by some elements of NASA at the time.
Centaur was Convair's idea, derived from Atlas, but it was ARPA money, and then NASA money and program management at Lewis that made it happen.   The original idea turned out to have many, many flaws that had to be fixed, at great cost in funding,  schedule, and burned up test stands.

 - Ed Kyle

And LC-36 launch complex. KABOOM goes the AC-5 !

Online docmordrid

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I don't think that makes a good argument as to why SLS has not flown.

SLS has not flown because the good Senator from Alabama is in no hurry to stop Boeing from paying huge paychecks to thousands of voters workers. The longer it takes to fly, the more votes are assured paychecks get distributed, ensuring a successful reelection campaign.

Chuck, have things changed so much that the basic premise of politics no longer holds true?

Do people really believe that by cancelling SLS they will somehow win the next election?

Following US politics for some time, it seems Florida holds a particularly large number of voters that could swing an election.
>

Just for the record;

Florida voted for Trump in 2016.

Many of the main SLS supporters in the Senate have either retired (Sen. Hatch [R-Utah], Sen. Hutchinson [R-Texas]), or been voted out (Sen. Nelson [D-Florida]).

Sen. Shelby [Alabama] and Sen.Wicker [R-Mississippi] remain.

This is primarily about the administration having a space "win" leading into the 2020 election, which is OK as all administrations seek a flag to raise in their run for  a second term. The [laudible, IMO] secondary goal is getting a stuck NASA un-stuck, and is it ever stuck.

NASA cannot get un-stuck with the vasty over-budget & ridiculously late SLS and Orion hanging around its neck, and the Senate needs a hard lesson WRT the sunk-costs fallacy.

Both heavy launch and a cislunar taxi need to be commercialized. Deep space (Mars, Ceres, asteroids etc.)  is another matter, and let's be honest - a  serious long duration transfer vehicle is needed for that and Orion ain't it.
« Last Edit: 03/23/2019 10:35 am by docmordrid »
DM

Offline CJ

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Many of the main SLS supporters in the Senate have either retired (Sen. Hatch [R-Utah], Sen. Hutchinson [R-Texas]), or been voted out (Sen. Nelson [R-Florida]).

Sen. Shelby [Alabama] and Sen.Wicker [R-Mississippi] remain.

This is primarily about the administration having a space "win" leading into the 2020 election, which is OK as all administrations seek a flag to raise in their run for  a second term. The [laudible, IMO] secondary goal is getting a stuck NASA un-stuck, and is it ever stuck.

NASA cannot get un-stuck with the vasty over-budget & ridiculously late SLS and Orion hanging around its neck, and the Senate needs a hard lesson WRT the sunk-costs fallacy.

Both heavy launch and a cislunar taxi need to be commercialized. Deep space (Mars, Ceres, asteroids etc.)  is another matter, and let's be honest - a  serious long duration transfer vehicle is needed for that and Orion ain't it.

Bill Nelson of Florida (who was indeed defeated last November) has a D, not an R, after his name. :)

I agree with you in the main.

My guess; the next shoe to drop will be the Europa probe gets switched to a Falcon Heavy plus a Centaur upper stage. They pretty much have to anyway; SLS can't fly the current mission plan without EUS, they'd have to change the mission plan anyway, so why not go with a far cheaper FH +Centaur option? 

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