Boeing dispels rumors that the SLS rocket will be overpriced…

… with a $40 T-shirt celebrating the Space Launch System (SLS):

If the project comes in on budget, it will be nearly $1 billion per launch with roughly 15 percent more thrust than the 50-year-old Saturn V.

The entire program, including the Orion capsule, appears similar to Apollo and, in fact, is named “Artemis,” after Apollo’s twin sister. I asked an astronaut why NASA would do this, 60 years after Apollo. Why not just wait for Blue Origin to have their inexpensive rockets ready at roughly the same time? “It’s what they know how to do,” he responded. My mole inside the scientific side of NASA, responding to “Unless Blue Origin fails it seems as though they will be far cheaper per pound”:

That question has been the hot topic for the last two years or so. Congress keeps pushing SLS so until there is something flying that is obviously better value, SLS will keep going. It’s a jobs program that employs all the same people that Shuttle did. And NASA has a PR push about first woman on the moon for Artemis.

If taxpayers are concerned that the true cost will be more than the $1 billion/launch planned, would it make sense for Boeing to limit the shirt prices to $25? Also, if they’re going to spend $10+ billion on a new-ish rocket, shouldn’t they be able to come up with a more original name than “Space Launch System”?


  • in the early part of this century, NASA spent at least $9 billion on the Ares I and V rockets that proved to be a dead-en (NBC)

7 thoughts on “Boeing dispels rumors that the SLS rocket will be overpriced…

  1. They actually have the upper stage fully assembled in a warehouse, waiting 10 years for an SLS when it could be launched on a falcon heavy now. It’s a case of staying grounded for the sake of jobs. NASA actually asked congress to save $1.5 billion by launching Europa clipper on a commercial rocket.

    • Trump’s Problem: military is infested with globalists and military-industrial complex holdovers who oppose his agenda.

      Trump’s Solution: create a new branch of military so he can hand-pick its leadership, give it control of all satellites so he can watch over all military activity and communication, then call it “Space Force”.

  2. SLS is a pretty anodyne and boring name for the system, but in a way it fits: they’re employing a lot of Shuttle people and the t-shirt depiction looks like a big shuttle External Tank and boosters. Shuttle was the STS (Space Transportation System), so maybe they didn’t want to come up with anything too razzmatazz. If you dig a little deeper, there’s a lot more intrigue. I’ll refrain from posting any of my juvenile, raunchy ideas for catchy acronyms that would offend Artemis’ purity and risk her wrath.

    “When Artemis was still a little maid, she asked from her father Zeus to keep her maidenhood forever. So – just like Athena and Hestia – she remained chaste for eternity. And she guarded this vow even more vigorously than them.”

    The Artemis/Orion connection is pretty interesting. He was her hunting companion and only love interest, according to some of the mythology, but it gets complicated.

  3. Why are you plugging Blue Origin when they are vaporware at this point and wildly behind schedule? SpaceX has two working orbital launch systems and if the next one works out as well it will be the first 100% reusable system in human history and able to do earth-to-earth, earth-to-orbit, earth-to-moon-landing-and-return, and earth-to-Mars-landging-and-return. SpaceX is much better positioned to replace Artemis than Blue Origin is.

    • SpaceBoi: I don’t know enough about rocketry to handicap this race (I worked at NASA, but supporting physicists analyzing data streamed back from Pioneer Venus). The NASA folks seem to be most excited about Blue Origin. In their view, SpaceX is evolutionary and 1/10th the cost of traditional NASA-plus-contractors (just by not wasting money and time), but Blue Origin will be revolutionary and 1/100th the cost. They are confident that Jeff Bezos will see the project through to completion, but acknowledge that it is higher risk than what SpaceX is doing.

      (Though Blue Origin recently took a nearly $40 billion hit due to Jeff Bezos’s years-ago decision to marry a junior co-worker at his old Wall Street company. Who can evaluate the family court risk going forward?)

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