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GAO Report on SLS/Orion: Making Progress, But….

20 Sep 2019, 20:02 UTC
GAO Report on SLS/Orion: Making Progress, But….
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SLS core stage pathfinder is lifted onto the Stennis B-2 test stand (Credits: NASA/SSC)

by Douglas MessierManaging Editor

The Government Accountability Office released another depressing review this week of NASA’s Artemis program, specifically looking at the space agency’s progress on the Space Launch System, Orion spacecraft and the exploration ground systems (EGS) required to support them.

Cristina Chaplain, GAO’s director of Contracting and National Security Acquisitions, summarized the report’s conclusions on Wednesday in testimony before the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics.

The report reads like every other report the GAO has published about this effort. Yes, NASA continues to make progress on the programs, but schedules and budgets remain at risk.

Since our June 2019 report, the program is now targeting an Artemis-1 launch date of August 2020. According to NASA officials, the delay is primarily driven by challenges encountered installing ground support equipment on the Mobile Launcher and developing software, and does not reflect the ongoing agency-wide schedule assessment. The program has operated within the costs established for the June 2020 launch date, $3.2 billion, but officials stated that NASA is reevaluating the program’s development cost performance and will establish an updated baseline when new leadership is ...

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