Where is NASA's plan for building a new space launch system to replace the retired space shuttle?  At the moment, no one knows.

Earlier this year, NASA promised the space agency would release its plan to develop a new rocket by the end of summer.

Well, summer's almost gone and NASA still hasn't decided what kind of heavy-lift rocket to develop, and how soon current budgets will allow it.  We can blame the delay on politics.

For one thing, NASA and the U.S. Senate can't agree on a timetable.  The Senate wants a new rocket by 2016.  NASA insists it can’t deliver a rocket by then.

Then last week the Wall Street Journal reported the costs of developing a rocket and manned capsules between now and 2025 may run as high as $62 billion dollars. That’s almost twice as much as NASA has estimated.

That story angered Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Bill Nelson of Florida, who have been demanding that NASA release its plan to develop the new heavy-lift rocket.

They issued a joint statement after the Journal’s story calling on the White House to get its act together and do everything possible to preserve America’s pre-eminence in space.

via Where is NASA’s rocket development plan? | SciGuy | a Chron.com blog.

The elephant in the room no one wants to notice is that the American space program is dead in the water and going nowhere.

It doesn't have a crew vehicle and launch system, and worse, the Obama administration shows almost no interest in doing anything to save the program.

Will the last one out please turn out the lights?