SLS and Orion: May 2014 Archives

GAO: True Cost of SLS, Orion Unclear, Space News

"NASA has not released comprehensive, long-term cost estimates for SLS and Orion. The reason is to avoid giving Congress sticker shock, said William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for human exploration and operations. "If we laid out a path directly to Mars and we laid out all the vehicles and all the testing and all the work to get there, then you end up with a fairly long period of time with a lot of funding that goes into that activity that says this program is something maybe we don't want to go do," Gerstenmaier said in November during a panel discussion with SLS and Orion prime contractors at the Newseum in Washington."

GAO Sees Through NASA's SLS/Orion Smoke and Mirrors, earlier post

Rep. Mo Brooks joins leaders asking NASA for answers to Russian rocket engine ban, Huntsville Times

"In a statement released today, Brooks repeated his often-stated charge that America would not be without human spaceflight capability if the Obama administration had not cancelled the Constellation rocket program shortly after taking office in 2010. That decision, plus an earlier decision by the George W. Bush administration to retire the space shuttle and replace it with Constellation, has left America buying rides to the station from Russia while three companies race to provide American-owned access to space."

Keith's note: More imaginary facts from Mo Brooks. Even if Constellation was still in place NASA's commercial crew provider would fly crews sooner and vastly more cheaply than NASA ever could.

Actions Needed to Improve Transparency and Assess Long-Term Affordability of Human Exploration Programs, GAO

"- The SLS estimate is based on the funding required to develop and operate the initial 70-metric ton variant through first flight in 2017 but not the costs for its second flight in 2021. NASA is now incurring some costs related to the second flight, but it is not currently tracking those costs for life cycle cost estimating purposes. Furthermore, the estimate does not include costs to incrementally design, develop, and produce future 105- and 130-metric ton SLS variants which NASA expects to use for decades. NASA is now funding concept development and analysis related to these capabilities.

- The Orion estimate does not include costs for production, operations, or sustainment of additional crew capsules, despite plans to use and possibly enhance this capsule after 2021. It also does not include $4.7 billion in prior costs incurred during the approximately 4 years when Orion was being developed as part of NASA's now-defunct Constellation program.

- The ground systems estimate excludes costs to develop or operate the ground systems infrastructure beyond 2017, although NASA intends to modify ground architecture to accommodate all SLS variants."

Space Launch System Structural Test Stands to be Built at Marshall Space Flight Center

"NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) will have the largest cryogenic fuel tanks ever used on a rocket. Stands to test the tanks and other hardware to ensure that these huge structures can withstand the incredible stresses of launch will be built at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. NASA is contracting for the construction of the test stands through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has awarded a $45.3 million contract to Brasfield & Gorrie of Birmingham, Alabama."

NASA OIG: NASA's Decision Process for Conducting Space Launch System Core Stage Testing at Stennis, earlier post

"Similar to the OIG's conclusions 5 years ago, the OIG found that NASA failed to follow its internal policies or its agreement with the DOD when it decided to spend approximately $352 million to refurbish and test the SLS core stage on the B-2 test stand at Stennis.  Moreover, the OIG found that NASA did not adequately support its decision given that refurbishing the B-2 stand will be more costly and take longer than two other possible options:  an Air Force test stand at Edwards Air Force Base in California and a test stand at the Marshall Space Flight Center."



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This page is an archive of entries in the SLS and Orion category from May 2014.

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