NASA suffered increasing cost overruns on its major programs again in 2020, a problem a new report says will be exacerbated by the pandemic.
NASA’s inspector general criticized the agency for its accounting of Orion program costs in a new report, arguing it has “hindered the overall transparency” of the program amid growing costs and schedule slips.
NASA is making several changes to its plans to return humans to the surface of the moon by 2024, including launching the first two elements of the lunar Gateway together and adding a critical demonstration to the first crewed Orion flight.
A new study found that costs on major NASA projects continued to grow in the last year, and warned some of the agency’s highest profile programs will likely face additional cost overruns and delays in the near future.
A top NASA official said Feb. 28 he expects the first flight of the Space Launch System to take place in the second half of 2021, a later date than prior agency statements.
A Senate appropriations subcommittee approved a spending bill Sept. 24 that would provide $22.75 billion for NASA in fiscal year 2020, including much, but not all, of what the agency sought in additional funding for the Artemis program.
NASA announced Sept. 23 it was awarding a contract to Lockheed Martin for long-term production of the Orion spacecraft, covering as many as 12 spacecraft that would meet NASA’s anticipated needs into the 2030s.
The chairman of a key Senate committee said he’s “troubled” by cost and schedule growth on major NASA programs and is asking the agency for more information on their status.
NASA and the White House used the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing to mark the latest achievement in the development of the Orion spacecraft and reaffirm plans to use it to return humans to the moon by 2024.
With a successful test of the spacecraft’s abort system now complete, the manager of NASA’s Orion program is optimistic the spacecraft will be ready to send humans to the moon in 2024 even as development schedules continue to slip.