Today, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Charles Bolden announced that the President had given NASA formal approval to move forward on development of the congressionally authorized Space Launch System (SLS), the next-generation launch vehicle system that will launch astronauts on future missions of exploration as well as providing a backup capability to support the operations of the International Space Station (ISS). In response, Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) stated her support for the decision, saying "This is a great step forward. I am pleased that the White House has joined Congress in committing to a sustained, productive future for the nation's human space flight program. Our activities in space inspire our young people, create technologies that benefit all our citizens, and sharpen the critical skills that maintain American leadership in science and engineering."
Acting Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Ranking Member Jerry Costello (D-IL) added, "The announcement by NASA today of its design plans for the Space Launch System (SLS) is an important step in creating momentum for the program. Congress needs to review the plans in detail, but this appears to build on tested technologies that provide a good basis for moving forward and maintaining our aerospace workforce. Of course, it will be critically important to manage costs and keep the development of SLS on track."
Ms. Johnson agreed, stating that "Now that he has been given the go-ahead to proceed, I am confident that Administrator Bolden and the entire NASA team will work hard to incorporate sensible efficiencies in the design, management, and operation of this new system while ensuring that astronaut safety is not compromised. We in Congress and in the White House will need to do our part to ensure that the necessary resources are provided to successfully carry out this exciting endeavor."