Nasa Spent $16 Billion On The Orion Ship, Paying The Developer $27 Million In Excess Bonuses
The National Aeronautics and space administration (NASA) of the United States spent more than $16 billion on the development of Orion ships, paying Lockheed Martin about $27 million in unjustified bonuses. This conclusion is contained in a report released on Thursday by the Inspector -General of the US Space Agency.
"As of January 2020, NASA has spent $16.7 billion to build the Orion spacecraft, which is an average of $1.1 billion a year, or about 6% of the Department's total budget," the document says.
At the same time, according to the inspector, Lockheed Martin Corporation, which was engaged in the development, received too large bonuses for "excellent performance" of the work, even though the process went with significant delays and excessive increase in the cost of the order. "According to our calculations, NASA paid at least about $27.8 million in excess bonuses to Lockheed Martin for an "excellent" performance rating, although the Orion program had significantly increased costs and was also behind schedule," the report notes.
In the spring of 2019, NASA announced the project of the lunar program Artemis, which will consist of three stages. The first of them-Artemis 1-provides for an unpiloted flight of the Orion spacecraft installed on the Space Launch System rocket around the moon and its return to Earth. The second stage - Artemis 2-involves a flyby of The Earth's natural satellite with a crew on board, it was scheduled for 2022. On the third stage of the mission - Artemis 3 - NASA expected to land astronauts on the moon in 2024.
NASA plans to spend an additional $3 billion in production costs on the Orion Program by the time Artemis II launches, $2.2 billion of which will fall under a new contract with Lockheed for future Artemis missions signed in September 2019. Artemis III, which is included in this new production contract, will support the return of humans to the Moon in 2024. The total projected Life Cycle Cost for the Orion spacecraft through FY 2030 is $29.5 billion.
The Orion module, named after the constellation, has a diameter of 5.3 m and a mass of 23 tons. It looks like the mercury and Apollo ships that were operated in the 1960s and 1970s, although somewhat larger than them. It can take up to six astronauts on board. The volume of sealed rooms is about 19.5 cubic meters, living space-8.9 cubic meters, which allows you to equip the ship with a toilet.
Initially planned production dates for Orion were repeatedly disrupted. Some American experts criticize this project and consider it too costly and protracted, especially against the background of the rapid development of the commercial space flight industry in the United States in recent years.