Artemis Scrubs Again

This morning’s planned launch of NASA’s ludicrously expensive SLS rocket was scrubbed – again – due to a fuel leak. It is way past time to call a halt to this boondoggle. I quote from the report from NASA’s Office of Inspector General released in November 2021:

“In addition, NASA lacks a comprehensive and accurate cost estimate that accounts for all Artemis program costs. For FYs 2021 through 2025, the Agency uses a rough estimate for the first three missions that excludes $25 billion for key activities related to planned missions beyond Artemis III. When aggregating all relevant costs across mission directorates, NASA is projected to spend $93 billion on the Artemis effort up to FY 2025. We also project the current production and operations cost of a single SLS/Orion system at $4.1 billion per launch for Artemis I through IV, although the Agency’s ongoing initiatives aimed at increasing affordability seek to reduce that cost. Multiple factors contribute to the high cost of ESD programs, including the use of sole-source, cost-plus contracts; the inability to definitize key contract terms in a timely manner; and the fact that except for the Orion capsule, its subsystems, and the supporting launch facilities, all components are expendable and “single use” unlike emerging commercial space flight systems. Without capturing, accurately reporting, and reducing the cost of future SLS/Orion missions, the Agency will face significant challenges to sustaining its Artemis program in its current configuration.”

As soon as SpaceX’s Starship is ready, SLS is obsolete. And SpaceX’s first test vehicle is on its pad, doubtless as a metaphorical finger to the government efforts. SLS is based on obsolete Space Shuttle technology, using leftover engines and the familiar orange tank. There was a time when NASA’s space program was inspirational. Now Congressional corruption has sunk it to a way to funnel money to the contractors. It is an embarrassment.

Edit: Turns out the scrub was due to an engine problem, the fuel leak had been resolved.

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