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NASA inspector general asks for relief on Europa Clipper launch requirement
Posted: Fri, Aug 30, 2019, 6:11 PM ET (2211 GMT)
Europa Clipper spacecraft concept (NASA/JPL-Caltech) NASA's inspector general is asking Congress to remove a requirement in law that the agency launch the Europa Clipper mission on the Space Launch System. In a seven-page letter Tuesday to Senate appropriators, Inspector General Paul Martin said that NASA could save up to $1 billion by launching Europa Clipper on a commercial vehicle. He noted that, while the fiscal year 2019 appropriations act requires NASA to launch Europa Clipper by 2023 on an SLS, the earliest an SLS will be available for the mission is 2025 because of requirements to use SLS for the Artemis program. Although the House version of a 2020 spending bill retains the SLS requirement for Europa Clipper, the Senate has yet to draft its version of the bill.
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