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A report by NASA’s inspector general of the Orion program says it faces delays and budget overruns.
I’m not surprised. The audit [pdf] tried to put a good spin on NASA’s effort to build this capsule, but you can’t make a beauty queen out of a cockroach. Even though I truly believe that the agency has worked hard to try to contain costs and meet its schedule, it is impossible for NASA to succeed at this under the constrains imposed on it by Congress.
And then there is this:
Meanwhile, although [the] report focused on Orion, it also reiterated an oft-repeated point: The money NASA has said it will spend on SLS, Orion and associated ground systems is not enough to stage a mission to any extraterrestrial surface. “Given the time and money necessary to develop landers and associated systems, it is unlikely that NASA would be able to conduct any surface exploration missions until the late 2020s at the earliest,” the report says. “NASA astronauts will be limited to orbital missions using” Orion.
In other words, this very expensive project will not go anywhere for almost two decades. Doesn’t that just warm your heart?