Artemis II, scheduled to launch in October 2022, will be the first crewed mission for the new launch system, and plans to orbit the Moon.
The Artemis program calls for landing astronauts near the south pole of the moon by the end of 2024, a target date established by the Trump administration that is four years earlier than NASA had been planning.
Already running two years behind schedule and some $2 billion over budget because of technical problems, changing requirements and contractor performance, potential delays for the rocket's second mission - the first to carry astronauts - could push the SLS program's cost to almost $23 billion by 2023, the OIG reports. In a situation in which Congress does not reauthorise funding, NASA would have to stop spending money on SLS, except to close down the programme, 18 months after Bridenstine's notification. Besides Artemis I costs, these amounts include preparation for Artemis II and III, new engine development, and improved Boosters. It found that the cost of the SLS development for the Artemis 1 mission had ballooned by 25% from an original estimate of $7.02 billion to $8.75 billion.More news: The world is 'way off track' for meeting climate targets
In a statement, Boeing acknowledged cost and schedule "challenges over the years".
"NASA's continuing fight to manage costs and the SLS Program timeline has the potential to impact the Agency's ambitious goals for the Artemis program", the report released yesterday said. To complete this work, we reviewed SLS Program and contractor cost and budget documentation, interviewed NASA and contractor personnel, and conducted site visits at NASA and contractor facilities. Rising costs and delays can be attributed to challenges with program management, technical issues, and contractor performance. Specifically, rather than using separate contract line item numbers (CLIN) for each element's contract deliverables, each of the contracts have used a single CLIN to track all deliverables making it hard for the Agency to determine if the contractor is meeting cost and schedule commitments for each deliverable. The first core stage of the SLS had had its engines fitted and had been shipped for Green Run testing.
The report also noted that NASA was struggling to determine precise costs per element due to the structure of the contracts it had issued and went on to state that the SLS program had blown past the Agency Baseline Commitment (ABC) given to the US Congress "by at least 33 per cent at the end of fiscal year 2019". Additionally, when the revised launch date of mid to late 2021 is considered, this increases to 43%.More news: England's Marler cited after Six Nations groping incident
In response to the report's findings, NASA has stated that it does not agree with the OIG's assessment that the rebaselining and reporting threshold was triggered. Boeing's software development for the ICPS is also an ongoing concern as final modification of the software can not be made until NASA finalizes the Artemis I mission requirements. Moreover, both Northrop Grumman and Aerojet have experienced technical issues, with problems related to the Booster's Propellant Liner and Insulation and development of RS-25's new Engine Controller Unit proving hard to overcome. Part of this is simply how it is reported, but it also means that what has been achieved has cost more than expected. As part of this process, the agency removed $889 million for the development of the SLS boosters and RS-25 engines from the budget, deeming them not directly tied to the Artemis 1 mission.
The powerful Space Launch System rocket being built for NASA's Artemis moon program by Boeing, using solid-propellant boosters from Northrop Grumman and main engines from Aerojet Rocketdyne, will have cost more than $18 billion by the time it blasts off on its maiden flight in 2021, NASA's Office of Inspector General reported Tuesday. In an official response, NASA said it concurred with the recommendations.More news: NBA, union weighing ways to continue season without curtailing games