NASA has taken another step in its efforts to establish a long-term production line for the Space Launch System, although it remains uncertain what cost savings, if any, those contracts will provide.
Despite sticker shock from some quarters, Aerojet Rocketdyne says a new contract for producing engines for NASA’s Space Launch System will result in cost reductions compared to the engines used on the space shuttle.
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.
NASA will spend nearly $1 billion on a mobile launch platform for the Space Launch System that will be used for no more than four launches, a NASA report released March 17 revealed.
The cost of NASA’s Space Launch System has grown to the point where the agency must notify Congress and perform a formal reassessment of the program, NASA’s inspector general concluded in a March 10 report.
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.
As NASA marked the completion of the core stage of the first Space Launch System rocket, the agency and the rocket’s prime contractor are in the midst of negotiations for a long-term production contract for additional vehicles.
The new head of NASA’s human spaceflight programs affirmed his support for the Space Launch System Dec. 3, saying the long-delayed heavy-lift rocket is “absolutely mandatory” for returning humans to the moon.
While NASA continues to wait to set a new official date for the first launch of its Space Launch System, an agency official said Oct. 10 that the launch could slip as late as the middle of 2021.
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.
Members of a House committee expressed skepticism about NASA’s reliance on commercial launch vehicles to carry out human lunar landings by 2024 rather than an upgraded version of the Space Launch System.