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More overruns in NASA’s SLS program, this time with the mobile launchers

A new inspector general report [pdf] has found massive cost overruns in NASA over the building of the two mobile launch platforms the agency will use to launch its SLS rocket.

The original budget for the first mobile launch was supposed to be $234 million. NASA has now spent $927 million.

Worse, this platform will see limited use, as it was designed for the first smaller iteration of SLS, which NASA hopes to quickly replace with a more powerful version. Afterward it will become obsolete, replaced by the second mobile launch platform, now estimated to cost $486 million.

That’s about $1.5 billion just to build the launch platforms for SLS. That’s only a little less than SpaceX will spend to design, test, build, and launch its new Starship/Super Heavy rocket. And not only will Starship/Super Heavy be completely reusable, it will launch as much if not more payload into orbit as SLS.

But don’t worry. Our geniuses in Congress will continue to support SLS no matter the cost, even if it bankrupts NASA and prevents any real space exploration. They see its cost overruns, long delays, and inability to accomplish anything as a benefit, pumping money into their states and districts in order to buy votes.

Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

7 comments

  • hondo

    I just wish they would take all their money and pile it into an actual space plane
    Cargo and light. Long overdue. Have grown weary of rockets/roman candles lifting/muscling off.

  • wayne

    Casablanca
    1942
    -The appropriate clip-
    https://youtu.be/nM_A4Skusro
    0:42

  • sippin_bourbon

    Budget $234 million.
    Spent $927 Million.

    That is not an over run. That is a clear and absolute failure.

  • MDN

    That is not an over run. That is a clear and absolute failure.

    No. That is criminal negligence!

    MHO anyway.

  • geoffc

    @MDN – in their defense (I cannot believe I am defending them) I believe the design for the MLP changed several times during its construction and they had to redo major elements. I.e The entire thing was a cluster-frack, except no natural gas or oil was retrieved.

    But this is a giant waste across the board.

  • commodude

    Even for a .gov program that’s a budget buster.

    Littoral Combat Ship program only doubled the initial cost estimate per hull.

  • JDubya_AZ

    All the specifications and bureaucracy in government is what makes this a boon doggle.
    I worked with WSTF in NM on a project that was specified in 2007, bid in 2008, awarded in 2010, then took us four (4) years to complete as we kept having to go through hoops and what was worth, NASA staff (as well as the contractor) took forever to approve of any items, drawings, etc. Their methods of receipt were archaic and test procedures took too much time (you literally spent the day to check list items, then on the following day, have to review before turning on power).
    It’s amazing we got to the moon in the first place.
    Private business will do better, until gov’t begins to regulate.

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