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NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) is designed to be the world’s most powerful rocket — one able to take astronauts to the moon and Mars.
However, the $12.2-billion effort to develop and launch the first missions is running years behind schedule and faces major cost overruns.
On Wednesday, government auditors published a report highlighting problems with the work of NASA and Boeing, the biggest contractor for SLS.
The report flagged $64 million in extra fees awarded by NASA, slammed Boeing for “poor performance,” and questioned the “long-term sustainability” of the super-rocket program.

NASA is trying to build the world’s most powerful rocket, called the Space Launch System, or SLS.

The rocket program’s goal: send American astronauts back to the moon for the first time in nearly 50 years, then send people to Mars later on.

However, a new 44-page audit of the SLS program doesn’t bode well for the program.

The report, published Wednesday by NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), digs into some of the causes behind 2.5 years of delays and several billion dollars of projected cost overruns for the $12.2 billion SLS program.

The report even calls into question the sustainability of the entire project.

Auditors put much of the blame for high costs and delays on Boeing, one of the prime SLS contractors. The company is responsible for about 56% of the new rocket’s cost, but is years behind-schedule in delivering the biggest section of the rocket.

“Our audit work determined that the cost increases and schedule delays can be traced largely to management, technical, and infrastructure issues driven by Boeing’s poor performance,” Ridge Bowman, a director within NASA OIG, said in a video about the audit.

But the report also slammed NASA for its weak oversight.

“We also fault at NASA for several poor contract management practices [that] we found contributed to SLS program cost and schedule overruns,” Bowman said.

What the government audit found

NASA OIG said this is the “first in a series of audits” focusing on the agency and its contractors.

The findings raise new doubts about any timely or affordable completion of the roughly 36-story rocket system — or the suite of ambitious lunar and Martian expeditions that it’s supposed to make possible.

Auditors determined that NASA is slated to run out of money for SLS about three years earlier than planned, and that Boeing’s work on the first …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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NASA’s only plan to return astronauts to the moon after nearly 50 years just got slammed by an internal audit

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