Ares Costs: Just Pick a Number

Review Panel Hears Rival Plans for New Spaceflights, NY Times

"In an interview, Steve Cook, manager of the Ares Project at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., said that the cost estimate for developing the Ares I and seeing it through its first manned flight was $35 billion. Contrary to the claims of critics, he said, costs have not spiraled out of control. "We've got a stable plan to get us to 2015," Mr. Cook said."

NASA Constellation Blog: Where Things Stand with Constellation (Jeff Hanley)

"Posted on Apr 08, 2009 04:41:33 PM: While there has been moderate growth relative to early cost estimates, these increases are contained within the projected budget profile to which the agency has worked to for the last three years. The development cost for achieving the first crewed flight today is roughly $30 billion, far short of estimates which have been recently bandied about."

Keith's 6 July note: In April 2009 Jeff Hanley pegged the cost as "roughly $30 billion". Two months later Steve Cook said that the cost was "$35 billion". Gee, that's more than a 10% difference in barely 2 months - from two guys who should know the numbers. Did ESMD's "rough costs" go up by 10% in the space of two months? Or do Steve and Jeff have different numbers? What will it be 2 months from now? Then again Jeff Hanley and Steve Cook have disagreed on things before. The Augustine Commission has been provided with some rather detailed internal cost data - not all of which synchs with the current publicly avowed numbers. Stay tuned.

What are the real costs of NASA's Constellation program?, Orlando Sentinel

"In a letter to the editor on April 7, 2009 in response to the Sentinel article, Doug Cooke, associate administrator for NASA's Exploration System s Management Directorate, wrote: "The cost of this initial operating capability of hardware and systems is still at $36 billion." That figure in part is based on a study by NASA budget analysts in August 2008. A slide of that study is used as an illustrationat here and can be seen in greater detail via a link at the bottom of this post."

Keith's 7 July update: I am starting to get a headache. On 7 April 2009 Doug Cooke says the cost will be "$36 billion". The next Day Jeff Hanley wrote that it was "roughly $30 billion". Then on 18 June 2009 Steve Cook says that it is "$35 billion". The cost goes up, then it goes down, then it goes up again - with each of three of ESMD's senior management coming up with a different number.

NASA Ares Projects Plan - CxP 70057 Revision B - August 12, 2008

"3.8.7 Termination Review Criteria - The Ares will be subject to a Termination Review if its schedule projections show that it cannot meet the approved Ares I IOC date or if its cost is projected to exceed the approved run-out (including reserves) by more than 25 percent. The PMC shall make a recommendation to the GPMC as to whether a Termination Review should be conducted. The Headquarters GPMC would make this recommendation to the NASA Administrator."

An Analysis of NASA's Plans for Continuing Human Spaceflight After Retiring the Space Shuttle, 3 Nov 2008, CBO

"The potential problems that those risks represent could require additional time and money to resolve. NASA's current plans include an allowance of almost $7 billion to ensure that the Ares 1 and Orion achieve initial operating capability according to the current schedule. (Unless otherwise noted, dollar amounts are expressed as 2009 dollars of budget authority.) NASA staff indicate that those reserves imply a 65 percent level of confidence that the IOC milestone will be met as planned. However, CBO's 2004 analysis of the growth of costs in previous NASA programs indicates that the costs that the agency currently foresees for the Ares 1 and Orion programs could rise by 50 percent. Accommodating that cost growth would require as much as $7 billion more than NASA has budgeted, CBO estimates. Moreover, if NASA's total budget grew by no more than 2 percent annually, such cost increases, in CBO's estimation, would imply a delay of as much as 18 months beyond March 2015 for the vehicles to achieve the IOC milestone."

GAO: Area I and Orion Project Risk and Key Indicators to Measure Progress, 3 April 2008

"All these unknowns, as well as others, leave NASA in the position of being unable to provide firm cost estimates for the projects at this point. Meanwhile, tight deadlines are putting additional pressure on both the Ares I and Orion projects. Future requirements changes raise risks that both projects could experience cost and schedule problems."

GAO Report: NASA: Assessments of Selected Large-Scale Projects, 2 March 2009

"Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV) - NASA has not released official cost and schedule estimates to complete the Ares I program. NASA officials stated that these estimates will be made available when the project moves into implementation, or at the conclusion of the Constellation Programs non-advocate review. However, the value of various development contracts for the Ares I have increased by $304 million since initial award, and the first manned launch has slipped from 2014 to 2015."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on July 7, 2009 2:10 PM.

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