Google+ SpaceTravelFoundation: NASA's project called SLS the biggest space rocket could be over

July 24, 2014

NASA's project called SLS the biggest space rocket could be over

Dear readers and followers,

Today, Federal auditors annouced that NASA doesn’t have enough money to get its new, $12 billion rocket system off the ground by the end of 2017 as planned. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report put the current shortfall at $400 million, but it did say that NASA is “making solid progress” on the rocket program design.

The GAO issued a report yesterday saying NASA’s Space Launch System is at high risk of missing its planned December 2017 initial test flight. The post-space-shuttle program would build the biggest rockets ever, larger than the Saturn V rockets that sent men to the moon, to send astronauts to asteroids and Mars.

“They can’t meet the date with the money they have,” report author Cristina Chaplain said. She said it isn’t because the space agency has technical problems with the congressionally required program, but that NASA didn’t get enough money to carry out the massive undertaking.

NASA’s launch-system officials told the GAO that there is a 90 percent chance they won’t be ready for the launch date.

This usually means that NASA has to delay its test-launch date, get more money or be less ambitious about what it plans to do, said former NASA associate administrator Scott Pace, space-policy director at George Washington University.

NASA is still working on the problems the GAO highlighted, but delaying the launch or diverting money from other programs would harm taxpayers, NASA Associate Administrator William Gerstenmaier wrote in the agency’s response.

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