NASA starts at page 97.
It’s the beginning of the end for SLS. NASA wants to do Europa on a “commercial vehicle,” plans for Block 1B are “deferred,” and they propose commercial providers for getting to and from the moon itself, which means that SLS has nothing to do except the Gateway, and it can’t do the Gateway without the new upper stage planned for Block 1B.
It will be interesting to see the Congressional response. One thing it does do is continue to flow the wasteful funding for Block 1 to the right zip codes, so Congress may not care. Culberson is gone now, and if this budget passes with that wording, it would end the legislative requirement to use SLS for Europa.
[Update a few minutes later]
This budget is basically an implicit admission that SLS serves no purpose other than to ship taxpayer funds to the right zip codes. Even Gateway doesn't need it. Which means that the need for the Gateway itself goes away, since its primary mission was to give SLS something to do. https://t.co/oohwiukMwS
— Rand Simberg (@Rand_Simberg) March 11, 2019
This is an OMB proposal. Bridenstine had to provide lip service to SLS to get confirmed. I wonder what he’ll say when he gets called on the carpet by Congress?
[Tuesday noon update]
Yes, Dr. Stofan, NASA could get to Mars sooner, but it doesn’t need more money, it just needs to spend the money it gets more sensibly. They could get to Mars in five years if they could use the SLS/Orion budget for something useful.
[Update a while later]
Space Launch System recap over the last two years:
* Delayed from 2018 to 2021
* A single flight in Block 1 configuration to indefinite amount
* All upgrades deferred
* Europa mission moved because of delays
* Gateway moved to private rockets
— Eric Berger (@SciGuySpace) March 11, 2019
But other than that, it’s had a great two years.