“It is known, informally, as the asteroid-lasso plan: NASA wants to launch an unmanned spacecraft in 2018 that would capture a small asteroid — maybe 7 to 10 yards wide — haul it closer to Earth, then send astronauts up to examine it, in
But the space agency has encountered a stubborn technical problem: Congressional Republicans.”
(Via Plan to Capture an Asteroid Runs Into Politics – NYTimes.com.)
On the other hand, Obama switched the plan from Bush’s moon base, changing NASA direction. NASA has 3 years before they next administration will change their course again, too.
It’s fucking rudderless.
If I were them I’d just buy rides on SpaceX and Boeing and Dreamchaser, that way, whatever the fuck was going on politically they could fund an independent operator to develop a meaty capability for orbit and beyond and just plug and play.
As the Houston Chronicle points out, NASA’s been ordered to create a program it can’t afford to run anyway:
A couple of weeks ago a space enthusiast, John Strickland, analyzed the launch costs of NASA’s Space Launch System, which consists of a large rocket that could initially launch 70 tons into orbit and eventually 130 tons, and a space capsule, Orion.
For various, supportable reasons Strickland concludes that the SLS system would likely launch, on average, every four years, at a cost of more than $14 billion per launch. Here’s how the costs break down:
Invest that money in those other three companies and get way more than just one SLS launch every four years.