Author Topic: SLS congressional supporters?  (Read 2018 times)

Offline RoboGoofers

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SLS congressional supporters?
« on: 05/01/2018 06:14 PM »
They should call it the Senate Launch System, hurr hurr

We've all seen someone post that tired "joke" in a forum. But Seriously, who are/were the SLS and Constellation supporters in congress? I've seen many articles vaguely say "congressional proponents of SLS" but they rarely name anyone.

I know Sen Shelby, but there must be more.

please add to the list if you know.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: SLS congressional supporters?
« Reply #1 on: 05/01/2018 06:47 PM »
This is overly simplistic, but basically everyone from Texas, Alabama, Florida, and Utah.

The rest in congress donít particularly care, except what kind of support they can trade for the support they offer the people from the above states.

Offline AncientU

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Re: SLS congressional supporters?
« Reply #2 on: 05/01/2018 07:08 PM »
Senator Barbara Mikulski was a big supporter in exchange for Senator Shelby's support for JWST/Goddard when it needed support badly.
« Last Edit: 05/01/2018 07:08 PM by AncientU »
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Offline envy887

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Re: SLS congressional supporters?
« Reply #3 on: 05/01/2018 07:11 PM »
John Culberson (R. TX) is supporting SLS as the ride for Europa Clipper. He pushed for the $350 million to be added for the second ML.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/04/if-were-really-going-to-europa-nasa-needs-to-pick-a-rocket-soon/

Online rcoppola

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Re: SLS congressional supporters?
« Reply #4 on: 05/01/2018 07:39 PM »
This is overly simplistic, but basically everyone from Texas, Alabama, Florida, and Utah.

The rest in congress donít particularly care, except what kind of support they can trade for the support they offer the people from the above states.
MS, CO & LA as well.
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Offline Proponent

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Re: SLS congressional supporters?
« Reply #5 on: 05/01/2018 08:01 PM »
At the time SLS was created, its two most visible supporters were senators Nelson (D-Florida) and Hutchison (R-Texas).  Nelson is still there.  Hutchison knew she would lose a primary challenge by the Tea Party (Ted Cruz) and decided to run for governor of Texas, but she failed to win her party's nomination and retired from politics when her Senate term ended.

Early on, Sen. Rockefeller (D-W. Virginia, since retired) was a supporter too.  His state has an ATK facility.

My "favorite" supporter was Sen. Bennett of Utah (since Tea Partied by now-Sen. Lee).  He was the one that argued for Ares I on the grounds that the expert rocket engineers at Time magazine had declared it one of 2009's top inventions.

Let's not forget the porkotropic Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah, still in office).  He ought to win some sort of prize for self-serving propaganda for declaring that "according to our experts in Utah," large SRB's are essential for deep-space exploration.
« Last Edit: 05/01/2018 08:11 PM by Proponent »

Offline whitelancer64

Re: SLS congressional supporters?
« Reply #6 on: 05/01/2018 08:01 PM »
This is overly simplistic, but basically everyone from Texas, Alabama, Florida, and Utah.

The rest in congress donít particularly care, except what kind of support they can trade for the support they offer the people from the above states.

It's much more complicated than even that, though. At least one supplier for parts for the SLS / Orion / associated ground sytems is produced in every state in the USA. That's no random coincidence...

See this map:

https://www.nasa.gov/specials/ESDSuppliersMap/

Per this, more suppliers are located in California than anywhere else.
« Last Edit: 05/01/2018 08:05 PM by whitelancer64 »
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Offline Lars-J

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Re: SLS congressional supporters?
« Reply #7 on: 05/01/2018 08:16 PM »
This is overly simplistic, but basically everyone from Texas, Alabama, Florida, and Utah.

The rest in congress donít particularly care, except what kind of support they can trade for the support they offer the people from the above states.

It's much more complicated than even that, though. At least one supplier for parts for the SLS / Orion / associated ground sytems is produced in every state in the USA. That's no random coincidence...

See this map:

https://www.nasa.gov/specials/ESDSuppliersMap/

Per this, more suppliers are located in California than anywhere else.

...And this is why I called it 'simplistic'. But the real footprint is not that dense in many states such as CA, which is why there is only tepid support for SLS at best in those states. (You have to look at how many people are employed in the state to support SLS, not the number of suppliers)

It is the states that have the most to do with SLS - again: TX, FL, AL, LA, MS, CO, & UT - where you will find the most support.
« Last Edit: 05/01/2018 08:18 PM by Lars-J »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS congressional supporters?
« Reply #8 on: 05/01/2018 08:22 PM »
They should call it the Senate Launch System, hurr hurr

We've all seen someone post that tired "joke" in a forum. But Seriously, who are/were the SLS and Constellation supporters in congress? I've seen many articles vaguely say "congressional proponents of SLS" but they rarely name anyone.

I know Sen Shelby, but there must be more.

please add to the list if you know.

This is just a quick list from memory, and there are plenty of articles from 2010 that specifically identify who was doing what.

1. The Space Launch System was created by the Senate. The House took what the Senate wrote and approved it as written. So though the House may support the SLS, it was born in the Senate.

2. "success has many fathers, failure is an orphan" - the core Senators involved in the creation of the SLS were:

- Richard C. Shelby, of Alabama (R)
- Kay Bailey Hutchison, of Texas (R)
- David Vitter, of Louisiana (R)
- Bill Nelson, of Florida (D)

As I recall these were the team (gang?) that were doing all the negotiating with Obama's administration regarding the cancellation of the Constellation program and what would take it's place. They are also the ones that sought outside advice on what the specs for the SLS should be - and by "outside" I mean people outside the government, which at the time included the former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin. NASA was not involved.

As to who supports it today, that's tough to say. Yes the SLS program is funded for development, but a transportation system is useless unless there are things for it to transport, and that has been the crux of the problem for the SLS - a lack of things that require the SLS for transportation.

So sure, Culberson is a supporter because it helps his Europa Clipper project, but in general we have not seen broad support for funding programs that require the SLS. Because if the SLS launch manifest was filled for a decade or more we wouldn't be debating whether the SLS was needed or not, would we?   ;)
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Offline kraisee

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Re: SLS congressional supporters?
« Reply #9 on: 05/02/2018 01:49 AM »
Add Orrin Hatch, of Utah (R) to the inner circle.   But support, as Lars says above, is much wider than just these few - remember that parts of SLS (and Orion) are being built in every one of the 50 states.   A good question to ask, might be how many Senators have voted *against* SLS?

Ross.
« Last Edit: 05/02/2018 01:54 AM by kraisee »
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Offline Proponent

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Re: SLS congressional supporters?
« Reply #10 on: 05/02/2018 02:22 AM »
They are also the ones that sought outside advice on what the specs for the SLS should be - and by "outside" I mean people outside the government, which at the time included the former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin. NASA was not involved.

How do you know?  This all seems plausible, but I've never seen much hard info on just where the gang of senators got SLS's design from.  I had generally assumed that people from MSFC had a lot to do with it.
« Last Edit: 05/02/2018 02:31 AM by Proponent »

Offline Proponent

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Re: SLS congressional supporters?
« Reply #11 on: 05/02/2018 02:24 AM »
As to who supports it today, that's tough to say.

It seems to me that many members of Congress, like many Americans, tend to have warm and fuzzy feelings about NASA and tend to assume that anything it is doing is probably a good idea.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS congressional supporters?
« Reply #12 on: 05/02/2018 03:52 AM »
They are also the ones that sought outside advice on what the specs for the SLS should be - and by "outside" I mean people outside the government, which at the time included the former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin. NASA was not involved.

How do you know?  This all seems plausible, but I've never seen much hard info on just where the gang of senators got SLS's design from.

When I was researching my post above it was quite apparent that doing historical research on the SLS program is not easy. So all I can offer is my recollections of the time.

At the time I was a regular on SpacePolitics (SpaceNews reporter Jeff Foust's former blog), and we were watching the activity going on in Congress and the Senate with regards to the Constellation program and Obama's FY2011 Budget request, both with public documents and sources from other websites.

The House did not have any coherent plan for Obama's budget request, but in the Senate they seemed to work through the issues regarding the request for cancelling the Constellation program, extending the ISS, creating the Commercial Crew program, and the creation of an R&D budget to fund things like fuel depots and a heavy-lift engine.

There were no hearings at the time where Congress asked NASA about the need for an HLV, and to my recollection no one knew of any input that NASA provided to the Senate regarding what an HLV should look like. Remember NASA worked for Obama, so no one from NASA would provide anything to Congress without Obama agreeing to doing that.

Congress does bring in "experts" to advise them, and we in the public don't always know about them because they can provide input and information behind the scenes. Sometimes that is done in public hearings, but again my recollection from that time is that there were no hearings where "experts" testified as to what the specs should be for a NASA HLV after the cancellation of the Constellation program.

During that time there were reports that Michael Griffin was providing input directly to the four principle Senators working on what would become the SLS. I don't remember the source, but obviously someone with knowledge about rockets had to provide the Senators with specs that they wrote into S. 3729. Griffin was the architect of the Ares I/V, so this makes sense.

Quote
I had generally assumed that people from MSFC had a lot to do with it.

Then there should be a public record of Congress requesting information from NASA, and a record of NASA providing that help. If someone can point to such documentation great, but from my recollection Congress never requested help from NASA on defining the SLS.
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Offline AncientU

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Re: SLS congressional supporters?
« Reply #13 on: 05/03/2018 03:46 PM »
They probably received all the help they needed from the Contractors -- their usual source of 'information' and legislation.
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