Artemis mission is under threat due to NASA’s astronomical expenses

Senior NASA officials said that the super-powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, designed to implement the ambitious Artemis program to return people to the Moon, faced a serious obstacle. A report published by the US Government Accountability Office expresses outrage about the huge costs associated with the development and launch of this rocket. 

NASA’s SLS rocket on launch pad 39B. Photo: NASA

The report, which analyzes in detail the costs of the SLS program, contains strong criticism that the space rocket is considered inefficient and financially unjustified at the current stage. In addition, the report indicates a lack of transparency in the costs of this program, leaving many unanswered questions. Unfortunately, it does not specify the specific names of those who expressed this criticism at NASA.

Nevertheless, the report indicates that NASA recognizes the need for cost improvements. The report states that the agency has developed an action plan that provides short- and long-term strategies to reduce the costs of the SLS program and save funds. This plan includes stabilizing the launch schedule, improving efficiency, supporting innovation, and reviewing the procurement strategy to reduce the risk of financial costs. 

Criticism of Artemis

The Space Launch System is a key part of the Artemis program, which aims to return people to the Moon by the end of this decade to create a permanent operating base on its surface. The first successful launch of the SLS in the Artemis I mission took place on November 16 with several delays. This mission was deemed a success and paved the way for the launch of the first manned mission to the Moon in late 2024, known as Artemis III — the first such mission since the Apollo program.

NASA’s next-generation Space Launch System (SLS) Rocket

Despite the success of Artemis I, the SLS program has been criticized by government oversight bodies such as the General Audit Office (GAO) and NASA’s inspector general. Since 2014, these bodies have been paying attention to issues related to the conclusion of contracts and the costs of the SLS program. They also pointed to a lack of transparency in the cost of Artemis missions and an inadequate assessment of the current costs of the program.

The GAO report noted that already in 2014, the agency was asked to develop a basic cost budget for missions using the SLS Block I — the first version of the rocket. NASA partially agreed with this recommendation, but it has not yet fully implemented it. 

In general, the SLS program has been the subject of serious criticism, and this new GAO report only highlights the need to review the financial effectiveness of this important space program. NASA is currently appealing to the US Congress and requesting additional funds for the SLS program, which raises the question of whether support for this project will continue in light of the new report. 

Earlier we reported that NASA was begging for rescue due to the destruction of infrastructure.

According to CNN.

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