The United States of America made history in 1969 with its historical event of sending two men on the Moon. A few decades ago, this amazing technological achievement was only possible with the mighty Saturn V rocket by NASA. The rocket cost a significant amount to launch at $189 million, which amounts to $1 billion today after accounting for inflation. Coming to the present day, NASA has been challenged to repeat this achievement by President Trump – with a goal of reaching the Moon by 2024.
Along the path towards this, NASA has developed a brand new rocket to make this goal a reality. However, this program is plagued by critics over its high cost and this new rocket, named SLS or Space Launch System has done little to reduce this. Preliminary estimates put the cost to launch of this new rocket at $1.6 billion. The critics point to commercial rockets from companies like SpaceX, which only cost $90 million to launch their own rocked dubbed as Falcon Heavy.
However, NASA officials counter this by stating that the commercial rockets are not as powerful and are not certified to transport humans, while the SLS has to carry heavy loads and astronauts to the Moon. With the associated delays in construction of the SLS and is now two years behind schedule, it remains to be seen if this new rocket defies all its critics to cement its place in the history books as the rocket that returned man to the Moon.