There’s an interesting article over at The Space Review concerning NASA’s next-generation spacecraft – Orion – and the heavy-lift launcher – the Space Launch System – in regards to the ongoing questions over whether either program will remain on-or-near budget over the next few years and, to me at least, there are several paramount questions surrounding these two programs….
- Can the companies working alongside NASA keep to their respective schedules, even if – like most government programs – there are the occasional slipups in scheduling?
- Can NASA ensure that, even with Congress’ penchant for dictating space policy from the halls of Washington, said schedules remain relatively close to what they have planned?
- Even assuming the first two, can NASA and the companies working on both of these programs continue to do as they have currently planned at present if a new administration were to come in and change the program schedule and/or funding levels for both programs?
That last question is probably the most important of the questions above; anytime a new administration comes into office, there almost always is a change in budget levels and priorities and given this, one can only hope that the next administration keeps the funding levels where they are at present, if not for any other reason than for continuity.