NASA OIG: The SLS Mobile Launcher Program Has Big Problems

NASA OIG: Audit of NASA's Development of Its Mobile Launchers

"NASA has greatly exceeded its cost and schedule targets in developing ML-1. As of January 2020, modification of ML-1 to accommodate the SLS has cost $693 million--$308 million more than the Agency's March 2014 budget estimate--and is running more than 3 years behind schedule.

Looking ahead, the project faces a risk of further cost increases and schedule slippage as ML-1 completes testing for Artemis I and undergoes modifications for Artemis II. The Agency's acquisition approach for ML-1, which lacked coordination and competition with design contractors, coupled with immature SLS requirements resulted in design errors and integration challenges that drove the project's cost increases and schedule delays.

Specifically, the ML-1 project experienced numerous design errors during the outfitting of the tower that resulted in cabling and structural conflicts, equipment that did not work as intended, and issues with fabrication of the connections known as umbilicals that provide power, communications, oxygen, and fuel. NASA exacerbated these issues by accepting unproven and untested designs from one of the project's contractors. Additionally, immature SLS requirements resulted in integration challenges that also contributed to increased costs and caused schedule delays. As a result of these issues, NASA incurred substantial unplanned costs for a system the Agency currently plans to use for three or four missions."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 17, 2020 9:59 AM.

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