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posted by martyb on Sunday November 10 2019, @07:09PM   Printer-friendly
from the when-pork-flies dept.

White House warns Congress about Artemis funding

The White House warned Congress in a recent letter that without funding increases for its exploration programs, NASA won't be able to achieve the goal of landing humans on the moon in 2024.

The Oct. 23 letter from Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, addressed overall issues with appropriations bills that Shelby's committee had approved in recent weeks, including the Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) bill that funds NASA.

"The Administration appreciates the Committee's continued support for space exploration, reflected in the $22.8 billion provided in the bill for NASA," Vought wrote in the letter, first reported by Ars Technica.

He took issue, though, with the funding provided for exploration research and development, which includes work on lunar landers and the lunar Gateway. "However, the $1.6 billion provided for exploration research and development (R&D) is insufficient to fully fund the lander system that astronauts would use to return to the Moon in 2024," he wrote. "Funding exploration R&D at the $2.3 billion level requested in the FY 2020 Budget is needed to support the Administration's goal of returning to the Moon by 2024."

From the Ars Technica article:

Congress has mandated that NASA use the more costly SLS[*] booster to launch the ambitious Europa Clipper mission to Jupiter in the early 2020s, while the White House prefers the agency to fly on a much-less-expensive commercial rocket. In a section discussing the Clipper mission, Vought's letter includes a cost estimate to build and fly a single SLS rocket in a given year—more than $2 billion—which NASA has not previously specified.

[*] SLS: Space Launch System.

At the U.S. Air Force Space Pitch Day on November 5, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk put a much smaller number on the cost of launching a fully reusable Starship:

"A single Starship will expend about $900,000 worth of fuel and oxygen for pressurization to send "at least 100 tons, probably 150 tons to orbit," Musk said. SpaceX's cost to operate Starship will be around $2 million per flight, which is "much less than even a tiny rocket," he added.

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday November 12 2019, @04:06AM (1 child)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Tuesday November 12 2019, @04:06AM (#919229) Journal []

    $153 billion is the cost of the Apollo program in 2018 dollars.

    That got us these missions [] (ending with Apollo 17). $153 billion could pay for up to 76,500 Starship launches (to LEO), launching up to 7,650,000 - 11,475,000 metric tons. Or merely thousands of trips to Mars, etc.

    This capability will probably be enough to start a legitimate asteroid mining venture, space hotels, a Moon base, a small Mars colony, and plenty of other fun stuff. The majority of missions may be privately funded this time around.

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  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday November 12 2019, @03:35PM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 12 2019, @03:35PM (#919412) Homepage Journal

    and plenty of other fun stuff.

    Nooooo!!! No FUN STUFF!! No fun for at least 50 years, preferably 100. It's got to be tough, and miserable, so that one day, Grandpas can tell their grandkids the equivalent stories of, "We had to walk to and from school, uphill, in the snow, both ways!"

    Remember that, fun is for future generations, after the pioneers have killed off all of the hardships.

    Hail to the Nibbler in Chief.