Don’t Read This…

…if you’re relying on the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) to forge a path into the solar system. The NASA Inspector General released this report on development problems with the MPCV. While the report goes out of its way to say that everyone is doing the best they can under the circumstances, the low funding level of the program is forcing an incremental test program that is introducing a large amount of risk to the development. The report documents the delays in several key program tests, including the 4-year delay of the crew escape system test and the fact that the first flight has been delayed to beyond the expected life of the space station. Oh, and the heat shield may crack due to exposure to deep space. Another issue raised is the reliance on other systems that the MPCV has no control over, such as SLS, the ground system development to support SLS, and the European Space Agency, who’s on the hook for at least one service module for the MPCV.

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One Response to Don’t Read This…

  1. I believe I’ve recently read that the Orion alone is getting by with $1B/yr (poor thing).
    Let’s see, $1B÷$80M = 12.5 and $1B÷$125M = 8 (the $×M numbers are the price range for a Falcon Heavy). The up mass for the FH is 53mT vs the SLS Block 1 at 105mT.
    So, it would take 4 FH’s to lift the same as 2 SLS’s, but the FH’s needed would cost only, at the higher pricing, ½ a year’s development cost ($½B) of the Orion. And you can bet your bottom dollar (as they used to say) the SLS per launch cost is a lot more than one year’s development cost for Orion.
    Dear Congress: Please explain to me why supporting SLS is more cost effective for the taxpayers than supporting Commercial Cargo/Crew!

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