Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, is calling on NASA to announce the design for the next generation Space Launch System, or SLS, before more jobs are lost.

The SLS is a heavy launch vehicle NASA is designing to replace the space shuttle and the recently cancelled Constellation Program.

NASA was scheduled Friday to receive the independent cost assessment for the SLS that was requested by the Office of Management and Budget.

Senator Hutchison says this independent assessment will confirm what she and NASA's technical staff have known for months, which is “that the SLS plan is financially and technically sound, and that NASA should move forward immediately.”

Hutchison says since NASA began reviewing alternatives for the SLS late last year, more than 5,500 jobs have been lost, many of which could have been transferred to the SLS program.

She says to prevent the loss of more jobs and the further deterioration of America’s human space flight capabilities, “the Administration should immediately announce a formal decision approving the vehicle design concept.”

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