Aerojet Rocketdyne explains the SLS engine contract costs

Aerojet Rocketdyne said the new contract they received for NASA’s Space energy provision to the launch system would reduce costs compared to the engine that the space shuttle uses. The above occurred despite some quarters having the sticker shock. 

The NASA announcement on May 1 said it had awarded Aerojet contract that amounts to 1.79 billion US dollars for the production of 18 RS-25 engines. The engines produced will be for the SLS future flights. Initially, the RS-25 engine construction contract was for Shuttle during the first missions.

Most of the Space community noticed that the contract had a price of more than 100 million Us dollars on one engine. In 2015, the contract to restart production of the engine will start by six engines, which will cost NASA about 3.5 billion US dollars to have 24 drivers or, on the other hand, 145 million US dollars per engine. The price for the engine of the Space shuttle Main engine was higher by 40 million US dollars.  

The price for the rocket engine is not merely according to the argument of Aerojet.  According to Jim Masser, who is the senior vice president at Aerojet Rocketdyne’s business unit for space during the 5th May 2020 interview, most people want to do some calculations when it comes to the engine, but the contract entails many more activities.  

The work on the engine entails fabrication and testing of single-engine, and the contract has the use of specialized test equipment, the association of overhead with technical and financial information that NASA human spaceflight projects require, and the mission assurance. He added that there is a fair amount of beyond and above to make other parts.  

Masser did not give the actual cost of each engine without adding the labor and the overhead cost. He said that there are many other activities in the contract which are beyond assembling and testing the engine.

The 40 million US dollars is a comprehensive estimate for SSME and does not have an attached date. If it is from 2000, the block 2 SSME production design that cost 40 million US dollars will cost 64 million Us dollars in the year 2020 when using the current NASA affliction index. If it starts from 1998 before the Shuttle began operation, it would have a costing of 150 million dollars in the year 2020. The contract does not have to cost but includes a 30 percent reduction in each engine’s cost.