The first step in NASA’s Artemis program is the launch of the Space Launch System rocket, heir to the legendary Saturn V rocket that took Apollo astronauts to the moon.
It aims to take humans back to the moon and, eventually, to Mars.
So far it has cost us taxpayers close to $23 billion. Since we landed men on the moon some 50 years ago, the commercial launch industry has boomed. Elon Musk’s SpaceX has shown it is possible to build reusable rockets that can send astronauts and cargo into space for around $50 million per launch versus the projected $2 billion for the non-reusable SLS rocket.
Artemis is a mishmash program, built on top of previously abandoned plans to return to the moon. The SLS is an attempt to relive the 1960s using 1970s technology. Much of it is built from reused and repurposed components from the experimental Space Shuttle.
The only reason it’s still around is because it’s a near-perfect example of pork-barrel politics. It’s a colossal waste of money and a boondoggle.
The program should be scrapped. Leave it to private industry.