The Alabama senators are furious that the White House has delayed development of Space Launch System even though Congress approved it last November in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 and appropriated $1.8 billion for it for the fiscal year that ends this month.
The SLS project office is in Huntsville at the Marshall Space Flight Center.
Shelby and four other Southern senators sent the first letter dated Aug. 15 to the White House urging, again, that work begin on the Space Launch System. Also signing were U.S. Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and David Vitter, R-La.
Florida’s senators share the frustration. So do Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and more than a few House representatives. They’ve all pressed NASA and the White House this year to get started on SLS.
But the Shelby/Sessions letter went further and accused NASA of wrongly shifting some $341 million to Kennedy Space Center in Florida for improvements that they say should go to SLS. Those improvements at Kennedy are only “tangentially” related to the heavy-lift rocket project, according to the Alabama senators.