For this assessment, about 728 people at the agency and from industry sought to determine the status of the program as it was currently structured. After the analysis, Loverro told staffers at NASA he had “concerns” about whether the existing plan would work. In particular, during internal briefings, Loverro expressed doubts about the remote assembly of elements of the lunar lander at the Gateway. He also wanted NASA engineers to make sure the Orion spacecraft, with crew on board, could dock to the lander without the Gateway.
The potential revision of this plan, which may entail the launch of an entire lunar lander on an upgraded version of the SLS rocket , is notable for several reasons. Perhaps most significantly, it would place primary responsibility for NASA’s Moon program on the shoulders of Boeing. That company is building the core stage of the SLS rocket, as well as an upgraded upper stage — the Exploration Upper Stage — that would now be required for use by August on the Block 1B version of the SLS. In fact, it would be required to accelerate development of the beefier SLS rocket.
“Due to the increases in number of flights and configurations, and the need for (Block 1B) one year earlier, much of the analysis work must be performed in parallel, rather than phased in series, “the Marshall Space Flight Center document notes. Marshall, located in northern Alabama, oversees development of the SLS rocket.