"Milestone reviews like the critical design review are just that -- critical. The critical design review demonstrates that the SLS design meets all system requirements with acceptable risk, and accomplishes that within cost and schedule constraints. It also proves that the rocket should continue with full-scale production, assembly, integration, and testing and that the program is ready to begin the next major review covering design certification."
Keith's note: As you may have heard, NASA has been conducting the CDR for the SLS. Well, despite all of the happy talk about how the review went toward enabling NASA's #JourneyToMars sources report that this CDR suffered from some of the common things that such reviews are prone to suffer - especially at MSFC. According to sources two participating entities - FSO and IV&V (raised objections/concerns - or "reclamas" - that the SLS design is not totally mature - yet. At one point MSFC management had a meeting wherein FSO and IV&V reps were told that having independent reviewers at the CDR was a mistake since their staff simply did not know enough about the vehicle's design. I saw this behavior with my own eyes during Space Station Freedom design reviews at MSFC in the 1990s - its in the drinking water down there. No one from outside their center or organization could, by definition, know enough to have any value at a MSFC CDR. Then there's the last big rocket they worked on at MSFC a few years back ...
Ares PDR Was Not As Smooth As NASA Says It Was, earlier post (2008)
"NASA sources report that there are some red faces in Huntsville and that there is the obligatory witch hunt under way at MSFC to find guilty parties and to try and figure out how this information got outside of NASA. Suffice it to say that the way this post-PDR "survey" was done is laughable - and that this witch hunt will simply cause even more embarrassing information to surface."