Report shows Artemis moon missions over budget, behind schedule

A new report shows the Artemis moon missions are over budget and falling behind.

Based on the findings, the Office of the Inspector General said NASA needs to change its approach moving forward.

"NASA has to get these costs under control. They are guilty, too. Absolutely – not just the contractors," said Dr. Ken Kremer who’s a space journalist, expert, and founder of SpaceUpClose. "They haven’t been providing sufficient oversight and sufficient direction, and it’s very clear from this report."

The 50-page report said Artemis is costing the agency $6 billion dollars more than expected. The project is also creating over six years of delays, just with the booster and RS-25 engine contracts.

"The Inspector General’s report – it must be scrutinized. It must be followed. Changing those contracts from cost plus to fixed price is critical," Kremer added. "More NASA oversight is absolutely critical."

It’s critical because taxpayer dollars are being used. The report goes on to state, "Without greater attention to these important safeguards, NASA and its contracts will continue to exceed planned cost and schedule, resulting in a reduced availability of funds, delayed launches, and the erosion of the public’s trust in the agency’s ability to responsibly spend taxpayer money."

In a recent budget discussion, NASA leaders said they’re working on the issue.

"Across the board, just on our crew transportation systems – we’re looking at those ways to bring our overall Artemis costs down."

Dr. Kremer is also worried about budget talks happening this week in Washington which could create even more issues for Artemis.

"If the GOP budget cuts go through, in the long-term Artemis III and IV will be delayed," he said. "Beyond that, it might be canceled."

The report goes on to say poor contract management caused investigators to question $49.9 million in costs and award fees. Kremer says NASA needs to keep a closer eye on contracts and provide more oversight in the future.

"That needs to change because the sky is not the limit. There isn’t an endless budget. We have to live within the budget we’re given," Kremer concluded.