It's all on paper; nothing is real.
Of course it's all on paper! Nevertheless, we frequently
hear the complaint that we must not be serious because we haven't yet
built any spacecraft.
The Artemis Project is about 95% business 5% space flight. Business
deals almost entirely with intangibles--it takes a lot of planning and
paperwork to get the goods to market.
As for the spacecraft, we're in the conceptual design phase. Any
well-engineered project spends the great majority of its life on
paper (or, these days, in computer models and data bases). It would
be most irresponsible of us to be building spacecraft parts at this
point in the program. We would end up investing an enormous amount
of money and effort in things we'd have to throw away as problems
are discovered in the system engineering process.
You can expect the Artemis Project spacecraft to be on paper,
or at most represented by models and mockups and test beds, until we
are within two years of launch. When we reach that point, it will
be time to start bending metal.
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