Soaring steel and oil prices have helped push up the cost of a warship Lockheed Martin is building for the Navy. The cost of Lockheed's Littoral combat ship is now $550 million per ship, up from the $220 million initial estimate. Design changes have also pushed the cost of the ship higher. General Dynamics is also building a Littoral combat ship.
Costs from a federal ethics probe and delays in foreign surveillance aircraft contracts will wipe out Boeing's second-quarter profit, the company said. The investigation involved Boeing's improper acquisition of secret documents belonging to competitor Lockheed Martin. The delays for the aircraft program stem from computer integration problems.
Officials gave Discovery approval to launch on Saturday at 3:49 p.m, but poor weather may interfere with the launch. Forecasts show a 60% chance of clouds that could trigger bolts of lightning. All 21 members of the Mission Management Team endorsed the launch approval.
NASA's ability to manage competing demands will determine the future of its human spaceflight program, experts say. NASA must complete the International Space Station, safely fly and retire the space shuttle and develop new spacecraft. Some insiders worry that budget constraints will affect NASA's ability to achieve is goals.