U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) expressed strong opposition to a House spending bill that directs NASA to hurry its selection of a company to provide astronaut transportation under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, calling the measure “silliness” and “anti-competitive,” Florida Today reports.
The House bill, approved May 10, includes $500 million for the Commercial Crew Program, under which four companies are vying to develop a rocket to replace the space shuttle. “Continuing on the current path runs a high risk of failure by one or more companies receiving government subsidies … leaving the taxpayer with no tangible benefits in exchange for a substantial investment,” the bill states.
Nelson, however, citing “several excellent proposals” from the four companies — Space Exploration Technologies, Sierra Nevada, Boeing and Blue Origin — said competition is crucial to developing a viable and affordable system. “Why should we not have competition for commercial crew and bring down the cost?” he said.