SLS and Orion: April 2017 Archives

GAO: NASA Human Space Exploration: Delay Likely for First Exploration Mission

"With less than 2 years until the planned November 2018 launch date for its first exploration mission (EM-1), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) three human exploration programs--Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (Orion), Space Launch System (SLS), and Exploration Ground Systems (EGS)-- are making progress on their respective systems, but the EM-1 launch date is likely unachievable as technical challenges continue to cause schedule delays. All three programs face unique challenges in completing development, and each has little to no schedule reserve remaining between now and the EM-1 date, meaning they will have to complete all remaining work with little margin for error for unexpected challenges that may arise."

"Should NASA determine it is likely to exceed its cost estimate baseline by 15 percent or miss a milestone by 6 months or more, NASA is required to report those increases and delays - along with their impacts - to the Congress.17 Given that these three human space exploration programs represent more than half of NASA's current portfolio development cost baseline, a cost increase or delay could have substantial repercussions for not only these programs but NASA's entire portfolio."

NASA OIG: NASA's Plans for Human Exploration Beyond Low Earth Orbit

"NASA's initial exploration missions on its Journey to Mars - EM-1 and EM-2 - face multiple cost and technical challenges that likely will affect their planned launch dates. Moreover, although the Agency's combined investment for development of the SLS, Orion, and GSDO programs will reach approximately $23 billion by the end of fiscal year 2018, the programs' average monetary reserves for the years leading up to EM-1 are much lower than the 10 to 30 percent recommended by Marshall Space Flight Center guidance. Low monetary reserves limit the programs' flexibility to cover increased costs or delays resulting from unexpected design complexity, incomplete requirements, or technology uncertainties. Moreover, software development and verification efforts for all three programs are behind schedule to meet a November 2018 EM-1 launch. Finally, NASA does not have a life-cycle cost estimate or integrated schedule for EM-2, which makes it difficult for Agency officials and external stakeholders to understand the full costs of EM-2 or gauge the validity of launch date assumptions."



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This page is an archive of entries in the SLS and Orion category from April 2017.

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