Mobile Launcher 2 is a critical piece of infrastructure that must support human spaceflight, and Bechtel is committed to successfully delivering it. The project has experienced significant cost and schedule growth beyond the original good faith estimates, which did not appreciate the project complexity and necessary change resulting from parallel design evolution of all launch systems.
Unfortunately, the Inspector General’s report does not provide a complete picture of what led to the current situation, and we strongly disagree with the report’s overarching conclusions on the primary causes of the cost increases.
The report does not appreciate the significance of the impacts of necessary design changes in support of the Artemis IV mission; nor does it address the significant and ongoing impacts of the global pandemic; and it wrongly attributes significant cost increases to poor project performance, including management of the mobile launcher weight, which is a unique engineering challenge that Bechtel and NASA engineers have resolved together.
In partnership with NASA, we are now focused on reaching 90% design completion before substantive construction starts to establish a high-confidence estimate of the full cost and schedule.
We are very proud of the excellent joint team working to deliver ML2, and we remain committed to supporting NASA and the Artemis program in the safest, most efficient way possible.