The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a serious toll on every industry. Yes, even the space industry has taken a solid beating due to the pandemic. An audit by NASA suggests that the entire cost of the COVID-19 pandemic will be around $3 billion. This is probably due to the increased cost of space explorations and other agency science kinds of stuff. To combat this, NASA has also increased the price of using the International Space Station by over 5 times.
NASA estimates $3 billion in pandemic costs
A report of the 1st quarter of 2021 suggests that the pandemic has significantly disturbed the space industry. It has affected supply chains, resulting in closed facilities, which has resulted in $3 billion of costs. All these costs are entirely not dependent on the pandemic and take into account the huge number of programs the agency plans to conduct. NASA always adds sufficient margins to their programs for an increased cost due to any reason. But the pandemic has increased the mission costs by so much that it is impossible to predict properly. And since it is so unpredictable, the toll may even increase if the pandemic lasts longer.
Some missions with huge costs
One of the major price increase due to the pandemic was the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope project. The pandemic resulted in an additional $3 million in 2020 and will result in another $400 million in cost in the near future. The late delivery of parts, lesser bids on the work, and longer time to assemble parts have significantly impacted the contractors. This has, in turn, hiked the price of the project. And since NASA did already approve of the project, it was not possible for them to postpone it. This meant that the timing of the pandemic was really bad for them.
Then we have the Orion Spacecraft that suffered an extra $146 million in costs due to the pandemic. The increased costs were due to the huge effect on the Artemis 2 and 3 missions, which were still in production when the pandemic hit. On the other hand, another telescope that was supposed to see an increased cost due to the pandemic was the James Webb Space Telescope. Its cost increased by a whopping $100 million due to the pandemic.
Several other missions in development like Europa Clipper and Plankton Aerosol reported increased costs of $97 million and $87.2 million, respectively. And all these increase costs have also resulted in several launch delays and projects getting postponed a lot in the future. The problem is NASA has received only a mere $60 million for the COVID relief. And it will be vastly insufficient for covering the costs of the mission.
What are your thoughts on the massive increase in mission in research cost incurred by NASA due to the pandemic? And do you think they will be cover the costs? Let us know in the comments below. Also, if you found our content informative, do like it and share it with your friends.