Trump has some big, big plans for NASA, but the agency just dumped a bucket of cold water on the president with an announcement.
NASA has just rebuffed Donald Trump’s plans for the agency in a big way. NASA will be launching a huge new rocket for the first time in about a year and a half, and there will be no astronauts on board for the ride, even though the Trump administration had asked the agency to look into whether it was possible.
NASA did look into whether it would be possible to put a crew on the Space Launch System, and determined that it was just way too risky. The SLS would be used for deep space missions, and eventually to send a manned mission to Mars.
In a conference call, acting NASA administrator Robert Lightfoot said that while adding crew was technically feasible, it would come at both a tremendous increase in cost and with a great risk to human life, as well as risks of schedule delays. As a result, NASA is going with their baseline plan.
Trump’s plan would have added $600 to $900 million to an already hefty price tag of about $24 billion, and potentially delayed the vital launch until 2020.