Frequently Raised Objections
Section J2.
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Space Shuttle as the Launch Vehicle in the Reference Mission

We haven't selected a launch system yet, but the NASA Space Shuttle works in the Reference Mission for both costs and performance. We selected the Space Shuttle as the launch system for the initial reference mission because it's the launcher we know the most about. The Space Shuttle is the most expensive launch system available today, but it is a proven, fully operational spacecraft, and the most capable launcher ever built. If the program will work with the cost of a Space Shuttle launch, then it will work even better with a less expensive vehicle.

We are considering a wide range of options for launchers to carry the Artemis Project spacecraft. Many existing launchers can fufill the requirements of the Reference Mission, and many more less costly launchers are being developed today. Because of this, although we fully support programs to achieve low-cost access to space, we have decided not to duplicate those efforts by including launcher development as part of the Artemis Project.

People give a lot of different reasons for the space shuttle being a bad idea. Most of them (such as a prohibition against commercial payloads) are fiction, but some (cost, the fleet is wearing out, and they will be busy servicing ISS) are very real. Fortunately even among existing launchers there are excellent options such as Titan IV and Proton.

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Frequently Raised Objections

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