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[i]In an [URL=https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/Follow-uptoMay2019AuditofEuropaMission-CongressionalLaunchVehicleMandate.pdf]Aug. 27 letter[/URL] to the chairs and ranking members of both the full Senate Appropriations Committee and its commerce, justice and science subcommittee, NASA Inspector General Paul Martin said that language in past appropriations bills will delay the launch of the Europa Clipper mission and add to its cost.
"NASA's renewed focus on returning humans to the Moon on an accelerated timetable means that an SLS will not be available to launch the Clipper mission to Europa before 2025 at the earliest," he wrote in the conclusion of the seven-page letter. The fiscal year 2019 appropriations bill required that the mission launch by 2023 on an SLS.
"[W]e urge Congress to consider removing the requirement that NASA launch the Europa Clipper on an SLS and allow the Agency to decide whether to use an SLS or a commercial vehicle based on cost, schedule, vehicle availability, and impact on science requirements," he added.[/i]
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