Re: It just boggles the mind!
Why did they replace the Space Shuttle? Way too expensive & not safe enough about covers it.
...with no proven replacement in sight? That's the state of American politics for you. NASA made it clear that the Shuttle couldn't keep going so the Senate/Congress knew that if they forced it, and the Shuttle had an oopsie, then they'd be the ones getting the blame so they allowed NASA to retire it and...
Immediately defaulted to their usual operating mode of "Let's get lots of money coming to my district for space stuff (for very undefined values of 'space stuff') and what happened? The Ares project, and the Altair lunar lander, which was also known as 'Apollo on Steroids' which would have been very expensive while achieving nothing. Not that politicians objected to that, as long as no-one could hold them accountable for it, but Obama wasn't interested in continuing a boondoggle that was started under Dubya.
So bye-bye Ares (and Altair) and hello, SLS! Another heavy-lift launcher that's really expensive with no defined program to serve or mission to perform but hey, no worries! After all, the money is still flowing to the same old companies/States/Congressional Districts so who cares if it's too expensive to actually use?
And proof for this? Congress is actually trying to cut funding for the Commercial Crew Program because it's a little behind schedule (apparently paying less for something makes it better and quicker to enter service, who knew?) while helpfully (!) pointing out that SLS can, if called upon, deliver crew to ISS. Using SLS for this is like buying something on EBay and finding that whatever it was, was shipped as the SOLE CARGO on an otherwise completely empty container ship because, well, we had a container ship and we had to use it for something. And, oh, you don't mind paying the shipping fee, do you?