Sen. Hutchison to Administration: Let NASA Move Forward with Space Launch System

July 14, 2011

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, made the following comments at a press conference today with Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and John Boozman (R-AR) regarding NASA’s delay in releasing information regarding the Space Launch System:

“We are trying to get NASA to tell everyone exactly what the design is because the design does meet the standards of the law that was passed last year and signed into law by the president. But the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is holding up that announcement.  Senator Nelson and I are urging that the OMB let the decision be made public so the contractors at NASA will stay in place - that will be the most efficient way for the taxpayers of our country. We also want to know why they are delaying so much when they’ve already massaged the numbers once in NASA, actually two or three times.   

“We just need to start now if we are going to do this in the most efficient way with the least taxpayer dollars and accomplish all that is needed to take us to the Space Station and beyond lower earth orbit which is our goal. So I am calling on this Administration to let NASA move forward. They have done a very good job. Senator Nelson and I have seen the design and we know that it is a great design.  It is exactly what we asked for last year in Congress and we now have the capsule that is going to take the astronauts and the launch vehicle we have to get going.

“Delay doesn’t help anyone.  NASA is going to be the final arbiter of what this design is, it’s not OMB. So let’s move out, let’s get going, and let’s do the best for our taxpayers by holding on to the experienced people that we have.  The longer we wait the more it’s going to cost. So I hope that in the next week we will get a definite answer from the administration that NASA is doing its job. Now we need to have the Administration follow up and let NASA go public so we can get this going and do it to shorten that gap as much as possible.”