The latest AvWeek article by Frank Morring, “Heavy-Lift Rocket Decision Continues To Slip” covers the continued slips in the SLS program.
Boiled down, the White House has demanded more studies, one internal and another by Booz Allen, of the SLS cost that will delay a decision until the end of the summer. And Morring’s quote by NASA’s Deputy Administrator seems to indicate that NASA is tying SLS development with the flight test schedule of the Orion MPCV. Also noteworthy is NASA Administrator Bolden’s notion of “evolving” the SLS to 130 tons.
These actions would seem to be either drastic re-interpretations of, or go against, the 2010 NASA Authorization Act, no matter how you look at Section 302 or 303, as well as a violation of FY 2011 NASA appropriation for SLS. It is almost as though both the White House and NASA view the 2010 Act as an advisory rather than a public law. How those in Congress overseeing NASA will react to this latest news remains to be seen. It is doubtful that the reaction will be a positive one.