Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) issued the following statement criticizing NASA's announcement of a new design for deep space exploration:
"Today, NASA announced its new design for a deep space exploration system, including a new "monster rocket' based on 40-year-old Space Shuttle technology in an attempt to recapture the glory days of the Apollo Saturn V," said Rohrabacher. "To meet the challenges of the 21st century we need bold, creative thinking and new technology development, like on-orbit fuel depots."
"Nostalgic rocketry is not how great nations invent their future," proclaimed Rohrabacher.
"There's nothing new or innovative in this approach, especially its astronomical price tag, and that's the real tragedy. Unfortunately, after a number of years, perhaps during development or after just a few flights like Saturn, budget pressures will bring this program to an end. Jobs that some politicians are bragging today about saving will be gone, while the new jobs based on new technologies and new enterprises will remain uncreated, because we chose repeating the past over inventing the future.
"I share the same goals as Administrator Bolden and my congressional colleagues. But I have heard today's claims before --- "We can build a new spacecraft and huge rocket, we can explore the solar system, we can meet the budget, and we can meet the schedule.' It simply has not come to pass. Every time we come to this decision point, we take the same wrong path -- an expensive heavy-lift launch vehicle that cannot be developed, built and flown in a financially sustainable manner.
"I hope that I am wrong about this heavy lift program, and ten years from now we are celebrating the first launch of this system to send humans beyond Earth's orbit on time and on budget. Otherwise this plan will suffer the same fate as Constellation - overpromised, under-delivered, and cancelled. Where will we be then?"
Rep. Rohrabacher is a senior member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.