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NASA finally admits what everyone already knows: SLS is unaffordable

NASA’s Acknowledgment: SLS Affordability Issues No Longer a Secret

SLS, Nasa, Moon Rocket
Image source: Aubrey Gemignani/NASA via AP

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has revealed that senior NASA officials consider the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) to be “unaffordable” and unsustainable at its current cost levels. The SLS is a massive rocket crucial to NASA’s ambitious Artemis program, which aims to establish a base on the moon.

The GAO report highlights significant concerns about the financial viability of the SLS program. However, it does not specify which officials within NASA expressed these concerns or how many of them did so.

In response to the affordability issues, NASA has collaborated with the SLS program to develop a roadmap aimed at addressing these concerns. The strategies outlined in the roadmap include efforts to stabilize the flight schedule, increase operational efficiencies, foster innovation, and adjust acquisition strategies to mitigate cost risks.

This revelation comes amid ongoing criticism of the SLS program by government watchdogs, including the GAO and NASA’s inspector general. These criticisms have been consistent over the years, focusing on issues such as cost overruns, transparency problems, and contracting issues.

The GAO report also points out that it had previously recommended that NASA develop a cost baseline capturing production costs for missions using the SLS Block I, the initial version of the rocket. However, NASA has only partially implemented this recommendation, leaving unresolved concerns about cost monitoring for its most powerful rocket.

The financial challenges facing the SLS program are significant, with nearly $12 billion already spent on its development, and a request for an additional $11 billion in NASA’s recent budget proposal for the next four years.

The SLS rocket is central to NASA’s Artemis program, which seeks to return humans to the moon and establish a sustainable lunar presence. The affordability and sustainability of the SLS program are critical factors in the success of Artemis, as the rocket is key to launching crewed missions and lunar payloads.

NASA’s efforts to address these challenges and implement cost-saving measures will be closely scrutinized, as they have the potential to impact the timeline and objectives of the ambitious Artemis program.

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has revealed that senior NASA officials consider the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) to be “unaffordable” and unsustainable at its current cost levels. The SLS is a massive rocket crucial to NASA’s ambitious Artemis program, which aims to establish a base on the moon.

The GAO report highlights significant concerns about the financial viability of the SLS program. However, it does not specify which officials within NASA expressed these concerns or how many of them did so.

In response to the affordability issues, NASA has collaborated with the SLS program to develop a roadmap aimed at addressing these concerns. The strategies outlined in the roadmap include efforts to stabilize the flight schedule, increase operational efficiencies, foster innovation, and adjust acquisition strategies to mitigate cost risks.

This revelation comes amid ongoing criticism of the SLS program by government watchdogs, including the GAO and NASA’s inspector general. These criticisms have been consistent over the years, focusing on issues such as cost overruns, transparency problems, and contracting issues.

The GAO report also points out that it had previously recommended that NASA develop a cost baseline capturing production costs for missions using the SLS Block I, the initial version of the rocket. However, NASA has only partially implemented this recommendation, leaving unresolved concerns about cost monitoring for its most powerful rocket.

The financial challenges facing the SLS program are significant, with nearly $12 billion already spent on its development, and a request for an additional $11 billion in NASA’s recent budget proposal for the next four years.

The SLS rocket is central to NASA’s Artemis program, which seeks to return humans to the moon and establish a sustainable lunar presence. The affordability and sustainability of the SLS program are critical factors in the success of Artemis, as the rocket is key to launching crewed missions and lunar payloads.

NASA’s efforts to address these challenges and implement cost-saving measures will be closely scrutinized, as they have the potential to impact the timeline and objectives of the ambitious Artemis program.

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