"Commercial Crew remains our most critical near-term civil space goal. We currently rely on the Russians, who have been good partners, but the Soyuz provides the tremendous risk of a single point of failure. We must create redundancy and enable NASA to certify multiple, independent, sustainable systems that can bring people safely to orbit and return them to Earth. In addition, the price the Russians are charging us continues to rise.
"We continue to hear that the SLS/MPCV system will serve as a back-up for Earth-to-orbit transportation in the unlikely event that none of the other systems in development are successful. Last year's request for this "back-up system" was more than 300% of the appropriated level of the primary system. By acting on this type of faulty logic, we have created a national debt as large as our GDP and still our nation refuses to take its foot off the deficit spending accelerator. SLS is unaffordable, and with relatively modest expenditures on specific technology development, we do not need a heavy lift vehicle of that class to explore the Moon, Mars, or near-Earth asteroids."