Should we create rockets and space technology based on our destination, or select a destination based on our available rockets?
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Would it solve SLS’s problem if only it had a clear destination? What if a president were to stand next to an astronaut and proclaim, “This day, I declare that the SLS will first go to a retrieved asteroid, then it will go to a distant asteroid, and then, in the mid-2030’s it will go to the vicinity of Mars”. There. There’s clarity. There’s purpose. We now know what it will be used for.
Does that solve the problem? Does that reduce the cost any? Does that solve the launch frequency problem? Does that free up money to allow for the development of payloads? Does that free up money for low-cost public-private space development programs? Not at all! The problem with the SLS is NOT that it doesn’t have a destination. The problem is that it costs so dang much.
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