Fox News has picked up the story on the rocket to nowhere:
Stifled by legislative bottlenecks, NASA will be forced to continue an already defunct rocket program until March, costing the agency half a billion dollars while adding more hurdles to the imminent task of replacing the space shuttle.
It’s always useful to note that half a billion dollars is about what SpaceX has spent to date on: creating a company, purchasing/leasing/modifying test, manufacturing and launch facilities, developing from scratch and demonstrating engines, two orbital launch systems, and a pressurized return capsule. This is the difference between NASA doing a traditional cost-plus procurement versus a fixed-price one. And it’s not just SpaceX — we’ve seen similar rapid, cost-effective progress from Boeing on their fixed-price commercial crew contract.
And of course, Shelby’s spokesman says that it’s NASA’s fault:
Shelby’s office says that there is no reason NASA can’t move forward.
“NASA is just making excuses and continuing to drag its feet, just as it has done for the past two years under the Obama administration,” Shelby spokesman Jonathan Graffeo said Wednesday.
As I note here, this isn’t NASA’s fault — it’s the fault of a Congress that has set them up to fail. They have two contradictory laws, and they can’t obey one without disobeying the other, so it’s inevitable that they will be acting illegally until Congress fixes it.