NASA, SpaceX moon landing may be delayed ‘several years’: OIG

  • NASA and SpaceX’s plan to land humans on the moon is facing “several years” delay, the inspector general’s office said.
  • SpaceX’s Starship and NASA’s spacesuits still need to be developed and tested, according to the OIG report.
  • NASA has already delayed the lunar landing mission from 2024 to 2025.

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NASA and SpaceX’s lunar landing is likely to be delayed “several years” beyond 2024, according to a report from the space agency’s watchdog.

Earlier this month, NASA pushed back the date to land humans on the moon in SpaceX’s spaceship Starship from 2024 to 2025. According to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report, which revises NASA programs, the launch could be further delayed.

“Given the time required to develop and fully test [landing system] and new spacesuits, we expect NASA to exceed its current schedule of landing humans on the moon by the end of 2024 by several years, “the report said.

The OIG report noted that SpaceX still had to test its Starship spacecraft in orbit, practice refueling it in orbit so it could reach the moon, and perform an unmanned mission.

In addition to this, the delivery of the astronauts’ spacesuits had been pushed back, in part due to lack of funding, the OIG report said.

NASA’s Artemis I and Artemis II missions, which help prepare for the final mission to the moon, Artemis III, may also be delayed due to “technical challenges” with the agency’s own Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft. .

NASA is expected to spend a total of $ 93 billion on the Artemis program between 2012 and 2025, the OIG report states.

NASA did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

In April, NASA awarded SpaceX an exclusive $ 2.9 billion contract to land the first humans on the moon since 1972.

NASA selected only one company for the contract, as it was expected to select two. One of the other companies in the dispute, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, subsequently filed a lawsuit against NASA, claiming that the space agency’s decision to award a $ 2.9 billion contract to SpaceX was “unfair.”

The OIG report said Blue Origins protests had caused delays in the agency’s schedule.

When NASA announced in early November that it had pushed its timeline for its return to the moon by 2025, Bill Nelson, the agency’s administrator, partly blamed the delay on Blue Origin.

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