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Damage Control: Boeing-Sponsored Newsletter Praises Space Launch System (SLS), Trashes Saturn V

Accepted submission by takyon at 2018-10-15 14:11:00
Business

Elon Musk pegs SpaceX BFR program at $5B as NASA's rocket booster nears $5B in cost overruns [teslarati.com]

[Compared] to Boeing's first serious 2014 contract for the SLS Core Stages – $4.2B to complete Core Stages 1 and 2 and launch EM-1 in Nov. 2017 – the company will ultimately end up 215% over-budget ($4.2B to $8.9B) and ~40 months behind schedule (42 months to 80+ months from contract award to completion). Meanwhile, as OIG notes, NASA has continued to give Boeing impossibly effusive and glowing performance reviews to the tune of $323 million in "award fees", with grades that would – under the contracting book NASA itself wrote – imply that Boeing SLS Core Stage work has been reliably under budget and ahead of schedule (it's not).

[...] Boeing – recently brought to light as the likely source of a spate of egregiously counterfactual op-eds published with the intention of dirtying SpaceX's image – also took it upon itself to sponsor what could be described as responses to NASA OIG's scathing October 10th SLS audit. Hilariously, a Politico newsletter sponsored by Boeing managed to explicitly demean and belittle the Apollo-era Saturn V rocket as a "rickety metal bucket built with 1960s technology", of which Boeing was very tenuously involved thanks to its eventual acquisition of companies that actually built Saturn and sent humans to the Moon.

At the same time, that newsletter described SLS as a rocket that will be "light years ahead of thespacecraft [sic] that NASA astronauts used to get to the moon 50 years ago." At present, the only clear way SLS is or will be "light years" ahead – as much a measure of time as it is of distance – of Saturn V is by continuing the rocket's trend of endless delays. Perhaps NASA astronomers will soon be able to judge exactly how many "light years ahead" SLS is by measuring the program's redshift or blueshift with one of several ground- and space-based telescopes.

Here's a typical Boeing shill response [forbes.com] (archive [archive.fo]) to the NASA Inspector General report.

See also: Will the US waste $100+ billion on SLS, Orion and LOP-G by 2030? [nextbigfuture.com]

Previously: Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019 [soylentnews.org] (now delayed to June 2020, likely 2021)
First SLS Mission Will be Unmanned [soylentnews.org]
After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System? [soylentnews.org]
NASA's Chief of Human Spaceflight Rules Out Use of Falcon Heavy for Lunar Station [soylentnews.org]
House Spending Bill Offers NASA More Money Than the Agency or Administration Wanted [soylentnews.org]
NASA Administrator Ponders the Fate of SLS in Interview [soylentnews.org]
There's a New Report on SLS Rocket Management, and It's Pretty Brutal [soylentnews.org]


Original Submission