Strange is it not? We get some small backing of commercial procurement of space services from the current NASA administration and what do Republican’s do? Why they back the same old Socialist space approach that came into being to match the Russian Socialist model in the Moon race.
Then they try to hang the monstrosity of a super heavy lift vehicle on NASA… but this time around the parentage is quite clear. Certain Senators designed this vehicle, or at least set the parameters. NASA did not even want the thing, or at least the people at the top did not. (Admittedly, there are a lot of folk in the lower hierarchy and at the Centers who have lived their lives in a ‘government knows best’ cocoon and who think the solution to every problem in exploration is a bigger rocket.)
The current system is an utter bollocks. The Senate insisted NASA come up with a design; and behind the scenes it was made clear that it must contain solid rocket engines made in Utah. It also includes features that ensure an ongoing standing army to service it in Florida and crowds of workers for Tennessee and Texas…
It will never fly. The sole and single purpose of this vehicle is to employ people in those States. When the unbearable cost of this ridiculous Senatorial design becomes apparent to all, it will be cancelled. There will then be hearings, hand wringing… and they will try to foist a ‘new’ program on us to keep the pork barrel jobs going.
This frankenstein will cost $30B over its life cycle. It will fly every only once in every one or two years; it will require a standing army that will be training and working and getting paid in the mean timel; it will cost perhaps $2B per flight; it will suck up most of a declining NASA budget at the expense of everything else; and it will not take a human being into space until 2021.
Yes, folks, this is your Senate at work. Not NASA… this time at least.