That's why it is stuck in LEO ( low Earth orbit).
The only way space gets conquered is if it can become economical to have it. It was the same story with automobiles. Until Henry Ford produced the Model T, cars were an expensive toy for the rich. The Model T made owning a car affordable for the general public.
There's not much incentive in Washington to reduce the costs of anything. The real incentive is to make everything as expensive as possible. That kind of thinking is what brought us trillion dollar deficits that were shocking four years ago. Now, they are commonplace. At least as long as our credit holds up.
I like Gingrich because I like space and his space initiatives seemed to offer the best chance forward in space. He advocated prizes for space achievements. People respond to prizes, so his idea made good sense. Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic in response to a prize. Gingrich was just advocating the long observed principle of people responding to incentives. People responded to incentives in buying a Model T, it was after all, affordable.
What is the incentive in Washington? To amass more power, that's what. It doesn't do anything but grow budgets and grow debts. Washington is nothing but a big, fat money and power hog.
This SLS system is a big boondoggle. I can't think of anything more stupid- if the idea is to conquer space. If the idea is to spend more money in order to do nothing, then this is your baby. Instead of squandering billions, the intelligent thing to do is to use what already works, instead of spending money you don't have in order to recreate something that already existed 30 years ago.
The VentureStar would have worked, but that was canceled. But the VentureStar would not have taken very much cargo to space. Well, who cares? You don't need to have one ship do every damned thing. The VentureStar could have taken people to space on a regular basis. You can rationalize this on an economic basis- like the Model T. Some say the VentureStar was a boondoggle. Even if it was a boondoggle, it is a small boondoggle. Better to have small ones than a big one like the SLS.
The Model T worked because it wasn't intended to be all things to all people. It worked because it was affordable. If the VentureStar could have transported people to space for an affordable price, it would have been worth every penny spent on it. It could have been the modern era's Model T. It could have worked. If only Washington did.