If you are, you’re not very shocked. Ares 1/Orion is looking at an eighteen-month schedule slip. And no, it’s not because it was starved for money:
The problem isn’t just funding – which has become problematic for CxP over the last few years – but also what is described as “serious disconnects” between related departments, such as Orion, Ground Ops and Ares.
While continued changes to the designs of Ares and Orion are part of the natural development cycle, issues such as Thrust Oscillation and vehicle performance have come at a price for both schedule and costings, despite fine work from the engineering teams tasked with mitigating the issues.
a314CxP attempted to protect the schedule and budgetary pressures by offsetting these additional strains by deleting test items – notably on the Upper Stage. However, this only proved to cause further disconnects throughout the program.
Gosh, who could have foreseen that?
I haven’t read through the whole thing in detail, and I can see at a glance that there’s a lot to chew on, but the main point that seems to be lost is that, even if it was on budget, and on schedule, it is an intrinsic programmatic disaster from the standpoint of affordability and sustainability. Each mission would still cost billions of dollars, not even attempting to amortize the development costs, and there would be no more than a couple a year, into the indefinite future. This is not something that any sane person should be willing to spend fifty billion dollars on.
Doing Apollo made sense in the context of the Cold War, if not in opening up the space frontier. Repeating it half a century later makes absolutely no sense at all.