The Last Gasp of 20th-Century NASA

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is stuck in the past. NASA on Monday halted the scheduled first launch of its Space Launch System moon rocket due to the failure of one of its four first stage rocket engines. These RS-25 engines, which NASA overhauled and used to save money, are left over from the space shuttle program. Building a new launch vehicle using outdated technology is emblematic of NASA’s approach to this belated over-budget program.

SLS was designed to replace Constellation, repeating the George W. Bush-era plan Apollo Moon landing program. NASA’s proposed giant booster was found far too expensive by a panel of experts chaired by a former aerospace executive Norman Augustineand the Obama Administration intends to end it. Senate heavyweights, contractors already working on the Constellation, and longtime NASA employees have developed SLS as a supposedly lower-cost replacement, using the same aerospace technology already contracted for the Constellation. The Last Gasp of 20th-Century NASA

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