NASA comments hit at SLS retirement if SpaceX, Blue Origin succeed

Posted on Tuesday, Nov 20 2018 @ 16:53 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
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NASA leaders are increasingly warming up to giving companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin a bigger role in future missions. At the moment, the space agency is overseeing the building of a super-heavy-lift rocket called Space Launch System. This giant rocket aims to put humans back on the moon, and to take the first crews to and from Mars.

But SLS, which is jokingly called the Senate Launch System, is an obscenely expensive rocket. The rocket project is expected to cost at least $8.9 billion by 2021, and a single flight of the expandable SLS rocket has a projected cost of $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion.

Critics have long urged NASA to cancel SLS and it seems this is now finally on the table, but only after commercial firms have proven they can offer manned spaceflight. Stephen Jurczyk, NASA’s associate administrator, told Business Insider at The Economist Space Summit on November 1 that SLS will eventually be retired in favor of buying launch capacity on commercial rockets. Oddly enough, Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of NASA, contradicted this statement on Twitter.
“I think our view is that if those commercial capabilities come online, we will eventually retire the government system, and just move to a buying launch capacity on those [rockets],” Stephen Jurczyk, NASA’s associate administrator, told Business Insider at The Economist Space Summit on November 1.

However, Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of NASA, appears to have publicly denied his colleague’s statement.

“In case there is any confusion, @NASA will NOT be retiring @NASA_SLS in 2022 or any foreseeable date. It is the backbone of America’s return to the Moon with international and commercial partners,” Bridenstine tweeted on Monday, following the initial publication of this story on Saturday.


About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.



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