Today, Rep. Brian Babin, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics released a statement on an oversight request regarding NASA’s Europa Clipper mission.

On February 22, Babin sent a letter requesting information on NASA’s decision not to launch the Europa Clipper mission on the Space Launch System (SLS), as required by Appropriations law. The 2021 omnibus spending bill stipulated that NASA could solicit commercial launch vehicles if torsional analysis shows that the SLS isn’t appropriate to safely launch the Clipper.

In the letter to NASA, Babin noted that the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee has not weighed in on the question of which launch vehicle should be used for the Europa Clipper, but is conducting thorough oversight of the decision.

“The Europa Clipper is being sent to explore whether this moon of Jupiter’s could possibly support life,” Babin said. “It’s an incredibly important mission, and one that is both costly and complex. It’s crucial that we conduct thorough oversight to determine that the Clipper mission is being carried out in accordance with Congressional intent. I’m expecting a prompt response from NASA answering our questions on their analyses of launch vehicles, as well as cost, schedule, and mission impacts.”

In the letter, Babin requested a response from NASA by March 5, but the Committee has not yet received any correspondence.

The full letter is available here.