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Adam Minter

NASA’s Artemis Rocket Is a Gigantic Waste of Money

The lunar mission is already years late and billions over budget. Meanwhile, private companies have been pushing boundaries in space travel for more than a decade. 

Not worth the wait.

Not worth the wait.

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

For the second time in a week, NASA scrubbed the launch of the Space Launch System designed to return Americans to the moon. First conceived in 2010, and initially scheduled to have its first test flight in 2017, the rocket is now scheduled to take off no earlier than late September, and possibly much later. NASA, for its part, is hoping Americans will overlook a decade of expensive failure and pray for the best.

They shouldn't. The SLS’s path to the launch pad should never have happened. Conceived as a means to maintain US aerospace employment, and based in part on older rocket designs and parts, the project has siphoned funds and energy.