What is happening with NASA’s SLS, is canceled or not?
The $35 billion Space Launch System, with a towering of 322-foot, and 70 metric tons if it’s built, will ever visit the Moon on March?
Jim Bridenstine, the NASA Administrator, reassured space fans the SLS is committed to being build and to fly. But we don’t know if the future of the Space Launch System is so secure with the principal contractors, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and Lockheed Martin.
What about the money?
The Trump Administration in its 2020 Presidential Budget Request, has given NASA a fund of $21 billion at the beginning of October 2019.
Also, the SLS project will receive nearly $1.8 billion funding next year. $1.3 billion will be for the developing of Lockheed Orion Crew Vehicle, and $800 million for the Lunar Gateway for Orion.
Moreover, analysts say that after many delays and missed schedules, the Exploration Mission-1, the one who will use an SLS rocket to sling back an Orion capsule paste the Moon, could be postponed to 2021.
Furthermore, for not delaying EM-1 anymore, NASA wants to consider other option for SLS. They could use other rockets for the heavy lift, such as ULA Delta IV or the Space X’s Falcon Heavy. And then come with the second rocket that could lift a fully third rocket into orbit. The third could mate with Orion and serve its purpose.
However, if NASA decides to launch EM-1 using commercial rockets, and not SLS, it will sabotage the whole idea of SLS. Bridenstine says the contrary, but putting billions of dollars away and ruin the SLS build, could be a risk for companies as Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Aerojet Rocketdyne.
Finally, the more significant risk is on Boeing, if NASA will use commercial rockets because NASA assures Lockheed that it will get revenue from Orion, no matter what rockets they will use.