"NASA needs to be exploring, but instead we have to rely on another country just to get people into low Earth orbit…and this is four decades after we sent humans to the Moon!"
Phil Plait's quote, featured in his latest blog post, is related to the proposed Senate funding bill for NASA's FY2015 budget. A recent provision to the bill, authored by Richard Shelby (R-AL),
is widely considered by those in the space exploration community as an obstacle to the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) due to language that would impose strict accountability requirements. These added barriers would likely increase costs and more importantly, delay the first crewed commercial missions until after 2017. This delay would force NASA to once again rely upon Roscosmos to launch NASA astronauts into space. Ever since the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011, NASA has spent large amounts of money -- currently $70 million per seat aboard a Soyuz rocket -- to continue expeditions to the International Space Station.
On his blog entry, Plait continued:"Oddly, this sort of accounting is already in place with contractors like Boeing—which, shockingly, is a big player with SLS, and which has a large plant in Alabama, Shelby’s home state—but is not in place in companies like SpaceX and Sierra Nevada. This means that the newer start-up companies will be put at a disadvantage against the older government contractors. ... NASA, Congress, and the White House need to sit down and work out a set of goals for the future, decide on a set of missions to take us there, and look at the rockets we have and will have over that timescale to accomplish it all."
The three companies competing in the Commercial Crew Program — Boeing, the Sierra Nevada Corporation, and SpaceX — have promised to launch astronauts to low Earth orbit at significantly lower prices. Specifically, SpaceX has publicly stated that it is aiming to charge NASA $140 million aboard its Falcon 9 space craft. With a full load of seven astronauts, each seat would cost $20 million apiece. Shelby's proposed accountability measures will unnecessarily delay and raise the price of the Commercial Crew Program.Source material:1.
Senate Boosts NASA Budget, But at What Cost?http://goo.gl/7O08Lw2.
The Senate's Flawed NASA Bill Hits a Bump in the Roadhttp://goo.gl/DCxSNI3.
NASA To Pay $70 Million A Seat To Fly Astronauts On Soyuzhttp://www.penny4nasa.org/2013/05/17/nasa-to-pay-70-million-a-seat-to-fly-astronauts-on-soyuz/
Urge Congress to fully support the Commercial Crew Program and tell them that you want to end NASA’s dependence on expensive Soyuz trips: http://www.penny4nasa.org/take-action/ #NASA #Penny4NASA #Space #Budget #CCP #Senate