Second SLS Mobile Launcher Costs Rise to Almost $1 Billion as Schedule Slips More Than 2 Years

Comparison between ML-1 and ML-2 concepts. (Source: NASA OIG presentation of Agency information)
  • 2.5 times more expensive than original contract
  • Completion delayed at least 2.5 years
  • Additional cost overruns and delays likely

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Bechtel’s $383 million project to build a second mobile launcher (ML-2) for NASA’s Artemis moon program has ballooned to at least $960.1 million while completion has slipped more than two years from March 2023 to October 2025, according to a new Office of Inspector General (IG) report. And more delays are highly likely.

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Thales Alenia Space Providing Key Technologies to Sustain Life Inside Orion Capsule

European Service Module No. 4. (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)
  • Orion’s European Service Module 4 successfully completed integration activities in Thales Alenia Space’s Turin plant
  • Thales Alenia Space is responsible for the primary and the secondary structure, and thermo-mechanical systems of ESA’s European Service Modules (ESM)

TURIN, Italy, 31th May 2022 (Thales Alenia Space PR) — Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), has successfully completed the activities related to the final integration of the critical systems of Orion’s European Service Module 4. The module is now on its way to Airbus Defence and Space’s clean rooms in Bremen, Germany. There, it will complete the integration and carry out final tests, supported by Thales Alenia Space engineers on-site.

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NASA Prepares SLS Moon Rockets for First Crewed Artemis Missions

Casting and assembly of solid rocket booster, shown her, for the Artemis IV mission is underway at Northrop Grumman’s factory in Promontory, Utah. The booster motors for Artemis II and Artemis III have completed casting and are ready to go to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center where they will be assembled with other booster hardware being prepared for the missions. (Credit: NASA)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — As teams continue to prepare NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for its debut flight with the launch of Artemis I, NASA and its partners across the country have made great progress building the rocket for Artemis II, the first crewed Artemis mission. The team is also manufacturing and testing major parts for Artemis missions III, IV and V.

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