Saturday, May 12, 1962 – Project Gemini Cost Estimates Growing

A current estimate of Project Gemini costs shows considerable increases from the projections of December 1961. The spacecraft cost, estimated at $240.5 million, is now projected at $391.6 million. Titan II costs, expected five months ago to be about $113.0 million, have risen to $161.8 million. The Atlas-Agena budget has risen from $88.0 million to $106.3 million, despite this part of the program’s slowing down. Support development, including the paraglider program, has increased from $29.0 to $36.8 million. There is a bright spot on the budgetary front: the estimate of operations cost has declined from $59.0 to $47.8 million.

Some of the higher costs are due to better understanding of the requirements of the program: for example, while the letter contract called for flight simulators and trainers to be built by McDonnell, specifics of their number and capability had not been defined. The test articles to be used for early static and dynamic testing are also pieces which had not been adequately considered before.

NASA Administrator James E Webb has noted, however, that the program has increased in the past five months from an estimated $529.5 million to $744.3 million total, and there is little reason to believe this is the end of program cost increases.

Fiscal Year 1963 begins the 1st of July, 1962, and Congress has not approved an appropriation for NASA yet.