Surprise: SLS Will Cost 30% More Than The Last Big Cost Increase

Eyes Forward as Artemis Missions Set to Begin Next Year

"Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, NASA also completed a detailed cost and schedule assessment for Artemis I and established a new agency commitment for launch readiness by November 2021. While it is too early to predict the full impact of COVID-19, we are confident a November 2021 date is achievable with the recent pace of progress, and a successful Green Run hot fire test will enable us to better predict a target launch date for the mission. Taking this new launch readiness date into account, NASA also aligned the development costs for the SLS and Exploration Ground Systems programs through Artemis I and established new cost commitments. The new development baseline cost for SLS is $9.1 billion, and the commitment for the initial ground systems capability to support the mission is now $2.4 billion. NASA's cost and schedule commitment for Orion currently remains within original targets and is tied to demonstrating the capability to fly crew on the Artemis II mission by 2023."

Keith's note: Wait a minute, let's read that again. The last time NASA tossed out a number it was $7.17 billion (see GAO's NASA Actions Needed to Improve the Management of Human Spaceflight Programs). Now a routine blog posting that sits in an out-of-the-way place at NASA.gov casually says 'Oh yea - the whole SLS thing is going to cost 1/3 more'. Clearly this is going to trigger every imaginable automatic Congressional oversight alarm. At a time when the House wants a mostly flat NASA budget with an election weeks away, it is becoming increasingly difficult to imagine how the 2024 lunar landing will happen under any circumstances - regardless of how the presidential election turns out and/or whether the Senate flips. I can't wait to see how Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration try to explain this.

And FWIW it is utterly baffling that this huge cost increase was released at the same time that the President was crowing about landing humans on the Moon. This totally undermines those claims.

As always, here's out ever-growing list of reports saying that SLS/Orion costs are out of control.

- Denial At Boeing Regarding Poor Performance On SLS, earlier post
- NASA OIG: Surprise, Surprise: Orion Is Behind Schedule, Over Cost, And Lacks Transparency, earlier post
- You Can't Exert National Prestige With A Rocket That Does Not Fly, earlier post

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on August 28, 2020 1:13 PM.

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