NASA has been delaying the completion of the SLS Moon Rocket. It is part of the Artemis program that aims to put footsteps on the Moon by 2024. However, it is still uncertain whether NASA can accomplish the project in the given time frame because of how the program has been handled since its initiation in 2010.
The Continuous Delay
The work on the program had started from 2010 and the design stage was reportedly completed by 2014. The present estimate of the date of the first launch test is said to be sometime in 2021, which is also a result of a 2-year delay.
NASA’s OIG (Office of the Inspector General) has addressed the matter and the reasons for the delay is said to be management, technical and infrastructure issues. The blame for the issues is mostly placed on Boeing, the contractor of the project.
NASA is dealing with political pressure from the Congress as well because of the multiple postponements of the estimated date of completion. The OIG, however, has made it clear that they won’t t be rushing
because of any political agenda. Safety and quality will still be their priority.
The Budget Overrun
One of the major factors that have contributed to the over expenditure is the delay itself. The program is supposed to be done by 2024 and the estimated cost till 2023 is $23 billion. NASA has estimated that the expenditure on the SLS program until the end of 2020 will be $17 billion.
The budget has been exceeded by a large scale which has become a cause of concern for the company. The efforts to make amends for the issues that have contributed to the delay is ongoing.
However, the OIG claims that their plans at making up for the lost time are not yet at the place. They are only a few months away from postponing the estimated time of completion beyond 2024.