The Costs of NASA’s Modern Moon Mission Are Really Adding Up

As a science writer, I feel excited when talking about humanity going to the moon. I feel awe too.

The headline has potential, as it points to our improving scientific knowledge. It’s a great sign that we have begun looking for extraterrestrial life. The story might be misleading, but it’s still worth the read!

John F. Kennedy said that we go to the moon not because it is easy, but because it is hard. The difficult steps are necessary for amazing cosmic discovery, as well as medical research on Earth.

For a moment, let’s talk about how much it costs to run a blog campaign.

Programs like the Artemis moon mission from NASA rely on funding from taxpayers which can create doubt on whether they are worth the investment.

The average cost of NASA’s modern moon mission is really adding up

NASA’s Artemis moon rocket was scheduled to launch in 2017, but was delayed and will now fly in 2022.

It was supposed to have a price tag of $500 million and be completed by 2021, but it is now costing $3.6 billion per launch. Every century, you could count to that price difference. This might explain why the audit calls the endeavor “unsustainable.”

They wanted to find out the risks of this new system so they looked at documents, systems, and other such things to evaluate those risks.

A review of the costs of NASA’s new mission to the moon

There are people who want AI to replace human writers, but those people know it will take a lot of time and money.

Learn what Lori Garver learned as the deputy administrator of NASA

Vice President Mike Pence says that NASA will not be able to meet its goal of reaching the moon in 2028, given the Trump administration. The new projection is for mission three, or late 2024.

The accelerated timeline to build a wall has created some challenges in the form of a $1.6 billion down payment for the wall and more budgeters asking “how will this wall be paid for?”

The most recent audit found that NASA has not given the committee their full cost estimate. This is a continued worry and problem.

NASA has not given a good reason to rush the mission.

The cost of NASA’s most recent exploration mission to the Moon

NASA new deadline for the mission is 2022 and the spacesuits might end up costing a lot more. NASA’s Executive Steering Committee report found that they’ve spent an additional $220 million on spacesuit development since their last report, meaning that they have currently spent $420 million so far.

All of the expensive things NASA is doing on the moon

When including the $40 billion that NASA has spent to date on Artemis, and projecting it to 2020, we find that the total projected cost through 2025 is $93.

It would take around $93 billion to bring humanity back to the moon via the Artemis program.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has responded to assertions made by the inspector general’s audit, which claims that there have been delays in the auditing process and budget alterations. NASA management have noted in the appendix section of their findings that they strongly disagree with these findings.

To learn from the mistakes of Artemis, NASA plans to review the requirements and specifications for the program; will be implementing lessons learned from Artemis; and plan to measure performance of technical skills against the costs needed to build equipment.

The Mission Assurance team has found that improving the learning curve led to a 76% decrease in non-conformances and a 52% decrease in discrepancies for the SLS Booster and Core Stage teams.

As Google management states, it’s in the name of leading lunar exploration, but for now, Artemis has yet to venture into space.

No launch date has been announced, but NASA’s moon mission has proven to be very costly with billions of extra dollars and years of wasted time.

Garver who worked at NASA between 2009 and 2013, said that the first launch of Falcon Heavy cost $500 million. He said that the technical people looked him in the eye and implied they could do it for the same. He doesn’t believe they thought they could have done it, but he thinks they’re smarter than that.

The cost of space exploration is multi-million dollars per launch. Instead of spending so much on exploring the stars, $500 million annually could be more useful in closer studies to find life on Earth.

She mentioned that she would often get feedback from Congress stating that NASA’s job was to explore space, not Earth. However, Star Trek was exploring space before NASA did.

NASA’s Artemis mission has had many successes

Artemis, not just the agency , was able to achieve the spacecraft’s final testing sequence on June 20.

Four attempts were needed to solve problems that arose before the rain stopped. The first one was struck by lightning, and technical difficulties plagued each subsequent one.

Another step in preparing for the launch is to make sure all facets are in tip-top shape. This includes setting up the rocket and filling it with fuel.

NASA’s Artemis mission will be launched in 2020 and has a few more tests left to undergo, but NASA is confident its success. The project manager, Mike Sarafin, said that the team received “hugs and handshakes” when they heard the good news.

Orion and the Space Launch System are the transportation system for Artemis, with what is known as a wet dress rehearsal’s success. Orion reports to NASA’s Office of Exploration Systems Development during the next phase of the Artemis program, now what we call “Artemis I.”

The cost of the Artemis mission is rising and could cause a huge impact on the economy

It is estimated that the NASA is leaving a hole of at least $20 billion in taxpayer money when it comes to its ambitious lunar mission, and many would be surprised to know that the SLS has taken much longer to complete its tests than was originally thought.

Garver also stated that “testing is all about finding problems”, but said it is taking longer than originally expected.

How long will it take to get to the moon? And what will happen while we’re there?

The NASA team knew, then, that outsourcing construction to all of the different countries on the timeline was unrealistic.

We are also wondering about the future of Artemis.

Introducing the Senate Launch System

The Senate Launch System is bestowed by critics since it’s for a senate program.

There is a concern with the Artemis mission involving NASA. Experts believe that Congress and the bureaucracy of NASA could make decisions with an emotional perspective rather than analytical thinking.

The aerospace industry made billions of dollars by telling Congress that they could achieve the goal, regardless of delays. There was a strong incentive for them to say they could do it, to make more money.

The NASA audit found that the cost-plus contracts had been favoring contractors rather than NASA.

He called out Boeing for a lack of planning and time management.

To summarize, NASA was able to develop SLS at a low cost, compared to the Space Shuttle or Saturn V. The program has only consumed less than half of the money that would be spent on a Space Shuttle operation in a year.

To put things into perspective, there were certain instances that led to building delays. For example, COVID-19 shutdowns caused delays in spacecraft manufacturing. Elsewhere, natural disasters had a negative impact on the rocket’s location.

Garver said, “Many in NASA have gone down this path before. They go along with the narrative just to get a program started, knowing that it will be hard to cancel it.”

She gave an example of the International Space Station. When it was first introduced, it was going to cost $8 billion and be all-American. However, by 2010, when it became an international project, the estimate went up to $100 billion.

Cost increases in a space project, such as the ISS, are to be expected. However, that is what often happens when the scope of the project increase and efficiency is improved.

It was clear that a lot of people believed that Artemis could be completed in the initial timeline and budget, despite knowing it would take significantly more time and money.

In the era of hard-to-launch rockets, NASA’s Artemis is coming with a bill

SpaceX, Blue Origin, and any company involved in the space industry are eager to create the ultimate recyclable rocket. A reusable rocket would make it easier for companies like SpaceX to become more efficient in completing launch missions and could end up being cheaper than creating materials from scratch.

But in this world of reusable rockets, the Artemis vehicle can’t be reused because it doesn’t perform any of its tasks better or faster than a rocket made from mass-produced technology.

For an example of cheaper and faster, there is SpaceX’s reusable rocket Starship, which has cost $5 billion so far. It is considered comparable to NASA’s Artemis program as well, if it isn’t already further along in development. The Artemis program has cost something like $23 billion so far. Also worth noting is that Starship hasn’t yet been able to transport its rockets into space, so the story of how it gets there still needs to be written.

If Starship is successful with its missions faster than NASA’s SLS, then it might be the case that Musk’s private space organization will light a path for future moon missions. It’s already poised to help with Artemis III’s manned mission, and has acquired a lot of praise for its Falcon 9 successes. Notably however, Galileo II only reached low Earth orbit.

“Unfortunately, you cannot use it for anything else,” said Gary Garver. “It would be a waste of time and resources to convert the code into something new.”

Although, the SLS had a checkpoint during the wet dress review that give some hope that the worst-case scenario will not happen.

Our intrinsic values should be considered; these are thoughts that never enter into the equation as far as private space is concerned. NASA’s trained astronauts will have plenty to offer once we land on the moon; they would be invaluable insights from the Apollo missions.

One aspect to consider when traveling to Mars is the SLS, otherwise known as the Starship. For now, that’s all we need to worry about.

We’ll see what comes next in the Artemis story. That’s because uncrewed missions will be followed by several others, including a crewed mission that took the first woman and person of color to the moon and later others who build lunar spaces stations, bases, something called the “Lunanet” (think of it as a moon-based internet) and pave the way for Mars missions as well.

Though who reached it first and on what vehicle is irrelevant, Kennedy’s speech still resonates.

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve as a measure of our skills and services. It is one we want to engage with and we want to win. We also don’t want to procrastinate on other projects.”

We don’t completely understand what the future will bring, but when you factor in medical bills, hours of missed work, and the noise from all of your other family members asking what’s going on, maybe it’s not worth it.

Representative Brian Bartoin said at a House Committee meeting in March, “We all have the same goal – a robust human spaceflight program. But with that, the devil is in the details.”

NASA’s moon mission may not be worth the cost

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