The office of the inspector general at NASA has issued a report saying it estimates the costs of facility closures, delays and other challenges facing the space agency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to reach nearly $3 billion. OIG said Wednesday 30 major programs and projects accounted for about $1.6 billion of the estimated total cost impact.
The James Webb Space Telescope, Space Launch System (SLS) and the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope represent 53 percent of the $1.6 billion estimated cost impact, while the Orion crew vehicle, Europa Clipper and Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud and ocean Ecosystem (PACE) account for another 20 percent.
According to the report, the Roman Space Telescope, which has a life cycle cost of $3.9 billion, incurred $3 million in estimated costs in fiscal year 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Project officials estimate a cost impact of nearly $400 million for FY 2021 and beyond.
Program officials for SLS reported $8 million in cost impact for FY 2020. The program is expected to record $355 million in additional costs for FY 2021 through FY 2023, stemming from schedule adjustments, production issues and facility shutdown.
The pandemic cost the Orion program $5 million in FY 2020 and its future impact on the program could reach $141 million.