NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) Inspector General Paul Martin has been tracking the development of the Space Launch System SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft since his appointment in 2009. Despite numerous independent monitoring reports published, this time Paul Martin went on fire, succinctly pointing out that NASA wasted too much resources on the system and that Boeing, the prime contractor for the rocket development, was doing “very poor”.
NASA wants to go back to the moon, but the cost of going back to the moon has ballooned several times from what it predicted 10 years ago.
Paul Martin told a meeting of the House Subcommittee on Space and Aviation that the cost of the rocket, Orion and ground systems alone would be as high as the cost of each lunar mission launched under the Artemis program. $4.1 billion: $2.2 billion for a single SLS rocket, $568 million for ground systems, $1 billion for the Orion spacecraft, and $300 million for the Orion spacecraft service module.
Strikingly, these costs do not include the tens of billions of dollars that have been invested in developing the SLS rocket, the Orion spacecraft since 2005, and if the cost were to be spread over the more than 10 missions planned by Artemis, this figure would be will directly double. However, 5 years ago, NASA said that it hoped that the cost of a single mission of the Artemis program would be reduced to 2 billion US dollars, and it is clear that the cost is far more than expected.
Paul Martin said that NASA cannot rely on the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft for meaningful exploration at this cost.
In addition, Paul Martin pointed out that NASA also concealed the expenditure of the Artemis program, which should be spent as high as $93 billion from 2012 to 2025.
“Part of the reason for NASA’s increasing costs is the efficiency of contractors, such as Boeing, which is responsible for developing the SLS rocket,” Paul Martin unabashedly pointed out that Boeing’s performance was very poor, poorly planned and poorly executed, but NASA continued to use “cost plus” Contract” to ensure that the system SLS-Orion is developed, which is good for the contractor and bad for NASA.
But according to Ars Technica, in fact, key members of Congress have been critical of NASA whenever it tries to move away from cost-plus contracts in favor of more commercial methods such as fixed-price contracts.
Boeing also responded to Paul Martin’s criticism in a statement on “CNBC” afterward, saying that the Artemis program is already more cost-effective than the Apollo program. If inflation is considered, the cost of NASA’s development of SLS is only the original farmer. A quarter of the God 5 launch vehicle.
Due to the continuous problems in the development and testing of the SLS rocket, NASA postponed the manned lunar landing plan to 2025 last year. However, in addition to the SLS rocket and the Orion spacecraft, the development progress of the space suit and the manned landing system (HLS) has not yet been clear, Paul Martin thinks there could be a further delay to 2026.
10 years ago, no one thought that SpaceX would be able to reduce the cost of rocket launches to an astonishingly low price today, but as NASA signs more and more agreements with contractors, it may be too late to abandon the SLS rocket and the Orion spacecraft. Unable to quit, only bite the bullet and continue to develop.