More Cost Overruns Realistically Means Space Launch System Requires Congress to Reauthorize

There are continuing production and testing problems for the Space Launch System, Orion and ground systems. There are more delays and budget overruns. If these delays and cost overruns are realistically assessed then it will surpass the 30% overrun level that would force NASA to go to the US Congress for re-authorization.

Nextbigfuture has been saying for years that the SLS needs to be canceled. The SpaceX Falcon Heavy can do almost everything that the first version of SLS can do. Falcon Heavy can launch the EM-1 mission. The SpaceX Super Heavy Starship could be flying to orbit in 2020 and will very likely beat the SLS to its first launch by 2021. The SpaceX Super Heavy Starship will be able to fully reusable launch 100 tons.

SLS will cost over a billion per launch and is using side booster and some other technology from the 1980s space shuttle system.

NASA’s estimates for the SLS program indicate 14.7 percent cost growth as of fourth quarter fiscal year 2018, but our analysis shows that number increases to 29.0 percent when accounting for costs that NASA shifted to future missions. Further, in summer 2018, NASA reported a 5.6 percent cost growth for the Orion program. However, this reported cost growth is associated with a program target launch date that is 7 months earlier than its agency baseline commitment launch date. If the Orion program executes to the launch date established in its agency baseline commitment, costs will increase further.