NASA Audit Commission published a report on the financial losses incurred by the organization due to the pandemic of the coronavirus C O V I D – 1 9. Controllers concluded that their total amount could reach 3 billion dollars.
NASA emblem. Source: NASA
The bulk of the additional costs accounted for 30 major programs – these, according to NASA classification, include projects with a total estimate of more than 250 million dollars. The RST space telescope (formerly WFI RST) has suffered the most severe damage. The temporary cessation of work of some subcontractors, disruption of existing logistics chains and, as a consequence, the postponement of the launch led to its rise in price by almost 400 million dollars.
The second place in this sad ranking was taken by the SLS superheavy carrier project. According to inspectors, the pandemic has led to its rise in price by 363 million dollars. The Orion spacecraft required $ 146 million in extra costs, the JWST telescope – about 100 million. The problems have affected two research missions: the Europa Clipper project cost 97 million more, the PACE satellite – 89 million. The remaining losses are mainly distributed on smaller scientific programs of NASA.
It is not yet clear how the aerospace administration will cover these costs. So far, it has received only $60 million from the aid package designed to deal with the effects of COVID-19. In addition, since the pandemic is still ongoing, it is possible that this is not the final amount of the loss.