August 2, 2019

SPACE PORK IS NOT HARMLESS: The SLS rocket may have curbed development of on-orbit refueling for a decade.

“Let’s be very honest again,” Bolden said in a 2014 interview. “We don’t have a commercially available heavy lift vehicle. Falcon 9 Heavy may someday come about. It’s on the drawing board right now. SLS is real. You’ve seen it down at Michoud. We’re building the core stage. We have all the engines done, ready to be put on the test stand at Stennis… I don’t see any hardware for a Falcon 9 Heavy, except that he’s going to take three Falcon 9s and put them together and that becomes the Heavy. It’s not that easy in rocketry.”

SpaceX privately developed the Falcon Heavy rocket for about $500 million, and it flew its first flight in February 2018. It has now flown three successful missions. NASA has spent about $14 billion on the SLS rocket and related development costs since 2011. That rocket is not expected to fly before at least mid or late 2021.

NASA can’t deliver. It hasn’t delivered in 50 years.

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