Why not SpaceX Part 2
BFR or SLS, I know which one I’d choose
Unsuspecting Increase in NASA’s budget for 2018/19 financial year has promising undertone for future manned missions beyond Earth. Long awaited manned mission to Mars, the return to the Moon and eventual permanent human base on Mars are now almost certain.
Increase in budget also secures funding for what is perhaps most expensive program in NASA’s history, the ill-fated SLS or Space Launch System. Already over budget, @$27.5 billion, up from initial 16 billion, SLS will rely on tested rocket technology to expand human presence eyond Earth. Capable of lifting 70 or 140 tons in to LEO, these will be very costly rockets that won’t be re-usable and cost at least $550 million per launch.
Following the successful launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket, NASA has come under increased scrutiny over its decision not to save money by pursuing commercial options for launches.
The question of alternatives to these very expensive rockets has been raised before and NASA’s requirements were cited as main concern.
Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s manned flight boss, cited Falcon heavy as inadequate for NASA’s needs, when asked why NASA won’t consider alternatives to very expensive and bloated SLS program.
However, BFR program, which is currently being developed by SpaceX would fit NASA’s requirements perfectly, and only a fraction of the cost of what NASA is paying for SLS program.
Estimated @3.2 billion BFR program promises very large payload and re-usable rocket that can delivery significant payload in to LEO, in many aspects far superior to Boeing developed SLS and in terms of costs, a fraction of what NASA would pay for each SLS launch.
Elon Musk said, the eventual launch costs for each BFR mission would be less than current Falcon Heavy which is estimated @$92 million. In fact, Elon Musk is confident of pricing structure, that he plans to retire Falcon Heavy and eventually even Falcon 9 rockets within several decades of BFR program being active.
So my question again, considering the alternatives, such as SpaceX and now BlueOrigin, wouldn’t be wise for NASA to consider SpaceX and BlueOrigin as alternative to SLS program? In part , I’ll be looking at Deep space Transport, NASA’s own manned spacecraft that will take humans to Mars.
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