NASA’s Artemis moon program is estimated to cost nearly $93 billion through 2025, NASA’s Office of Inspector General reported Monday. The first four flights of the program’s giant SLS booster and Orion crew capsule will run in the neighbourhood of $4.1 billion each.
The second in an ongoing series of audits examining the Artemis program concludes that the first unpiloted launch of a Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule on a flight beyond the moon and back will slip into the summer 2022 timeframe. The program’s second flight, a piloted flight around the moon, will slip into 2024 while the first moon landing mission likely will not get off the ground until 2026.
On top of that, delays developing a planned lunar-orbit staging post known as Gateway will likely preclude the lunar outpost’s availability to provide communications and supplies for both the Orion and during NASA’s early moon landing missions.