NASA’s first moon landing since 1972 is DELAYED until 2025 due to costs and Blue Origin litigation


NASA’s Artemis mission that will send the first woman and first person of color to the moon has now been pushed to no earlier than 2025. 

During the briefing, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said the crewed test flight of Origin and Space Launch System (SLS) on Artemis II are now targeting May 2024 – thus pushing the lunar landing to the following year.

Nelson says the seven months of litigation over the Blue Origin lawsuit, the coronavirus pandemic and unexpected cost increases have all played a roll in the schedule change. 

The rescheduled date was announced Tuesday during a live update from the American space agency. 

 

During the live briefing, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said the crewed test flight of Origin and the Space Launch System (SLS) (pictured) on Artemis II are now targeting May 2024 – thus pushing the lunar landing to the following year

The NASA Administrator also called out Congress during the briefing for not providing enough funds to build the human landing system and ‘the Trump administration target of a 2024 human landing was not grounded it technical feasibility,’ Nelson explained.

The 2024 deadline was first unveiled by then-Vice President Mike Pence during a 2019 meeting of the White House’s space council. 

‘Going forward, Congress has made it clear that there must be competition for the 10 plus moon landings in the future. There will be the need of a significant increase of funding for the competition and that is going to be starting with the 2023 budget,’ said Nelson.

‘After all, the Chinese space program is increasingly capable of landing Chinese taikonauts much earlier than originally expected.’ 

Nelson says the seven months of litigation over the Blue Origin lawsuit, the coronavirus pandemic and unexpected costs increases have all played a roll in the schedule change. Blue Origin sued NASA for choosing on SpaceX (pictured) to build the human lunar lander

Nelson says the seven months of litigation over the Blue Origin lawsuit, the coronavirus pandemic and unexpected costs increases have all played a roll in the schedule change. Blue Origin sued NASA for choosing on SpaceX (pictured) to build the human lunar lander

The Biden administration proposed an increase for NASA’s fiscal 2022 budget to $24.8 billion, up seven percent from fiscal 2021. 

However, Nelson pledged that NASA has promised to be aggressive in all ways possible to beat other nations from putting boots on the moon.

Much of the delay is because of Blue Origin, founded by Jeff Bezos, which sued NASA in August, citing NASA had originally intended to award multiple contracts for the lunar lander –  but instead, only awarded Elon Musk’s SpaceX as the sole provider for the $2.91 billion award.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson also said increased costs and the coronavirus pandemic also caused the schedule change

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson also said increased costs and the coronavirus pandemic also caused the schedule change

On November 4, a federal judge ruled against Blue Origin – putting an end to the litigation once and for all.

However, Nelson said ‘NASA was forbidden to collaborate with SpaceX for seven months, but the Musk-led company kept on working without payment.

‘Since the court ruling last week we have resumed work with SpaceX through a series of meetings that continue this week,’ Jim Free, NASA’s associate administrator of Exploration Systems Development, said during the briefing. 

The change in schedule is also due to an updated Orion development cost of $9.3 billion, from fiscal year 12 through the first crewed flight test and no later than May 2024. 

This encompasses the period between 2012 and 2024, up from the previous estimate of $6.7 billion. 

NASA 's Artemis mission that will send the first woman and first person of color to the moon has now been pushed to no earlier than 2025

NASA ‘s Artemis mission that will send the first woman and first person of color to the moon has now been pushed to no earlier than 2025

The last Artemis update was released on October 22, which said NASA's uncrewed Artemis 1 mission would not launch until February 2022, but the delay still kept the agency on track for the 2024 human lunar landing

The last Artemis update was released on October 22, which said NASA’s uncrewed Artemis 1 mission would not launch until February 2022, but the delay still kept the agency on track for the 2024 human lunar landing

Nelson was appointed by President Joe Biden to lead the space agency. Biden had agreed to continue a program, known as Artemis, that began under former President Donald Trump to put astronauts on the moon by 2024, intended as a prelude to an even-more-ambitious human Mars landing in the future.  

During the briefing, Nelson also revealed there would be an uncrewed landing sometime before humans set foot on the lunar surface.

‘The good news is that NASA is making solid progress,’ said Nelson, citing the fact that the mission’s Orion crew capsule has now been stacked atop the giant Space Launch System rocket at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The last Artemis update was released on October 22, which said NASA’s uncrewed Artemis 1 mission would not launch until February 2022, but the delay still kept the agency on track for the 2024 human lunar landing.

The Artemis I mission will see the Orion spacecraft (pictured), the SLS and the ground systems at Kennedy combine to launch the Orion 280,000 miles past Earth around the moon over the course of a three-week mission

The Artemis I mission will see the Orion spacecraft (pictured), the SLS and the ground systems at Kennedy combine to launch the Orion 280,000 miles past Earth around the moon over the course of a three-week mission

The Artemis I mission will see the Orion spacecraft, the SLS and the ground systems at Kennedy combine to launch the Orion 280,000 miles past Earth around the moon over the course of a three-week mission.

This spacecraft, primarily built by Lockheed Martin, will stay in space ‘longer than any ship for astronauts has done without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before,’ NASA has said previously.

In June, NASA finished assembling the $18.6 billion SLS rocket, after having announced the project in 2011.

However, during the Tuesday’s briefing, NASA said it is still targeting the February 2022 deadline – and will keep the public up-to-date on developments.

The Artemis II mission plans to send four astronauts in the first crewed Orion capsule into a lunar flyby for a maximum of 21 days.

Both missions are tests flights to demonstrate the technology and abilities of Orion, SLS and the Artemis mission before NASA puts human boots back on the moon. 

The Artemis mission will be the first to land humans on the moon since NASA’s Apollo 17 in 1972.

NASA will land the first woman and next man on the moon in 2024 as part of the Artemis mission

Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the moon in Greek mythology. 

NASA has chosen her to personify its path back to the moon, which will see astronauts return to the lunar surface by 2024 –  including the first woman and the next man.

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the moon and Mars. 

Artemis 1 will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  

Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed flight that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration, and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the moon and beyond. 

During this flight, the spacecraft will launch on the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown.

It will travel 280,000 miles (450,600 km) from Earth, thousands of miles beyond the moon over the course of about a three-week mission. 

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the moon and Mars. This graphic explains the various stages of the mission

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the moon and Mars. This graphic explains the various stages of the mission

Orion will stay in space longer than any ship for astronauts has done without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before. 

With this first exploration mission, NASA is leading the next steps of human exploration into deep space where astronauts will build and begin testing the systems near the moon needed for lunar surface missions and exploration to other destinations farther from Earth, including Mars. 

The will take crew on a different trajectory and test Orion’s critical systems with humans aboard. 

Together, Orion, SLS and the ground systems at Kennedy will be able to meet the most challenging crew and cargo mission needs in deep space.

Eventually NASA seeks to establish a sustainable human presence on the moon by 2028 as a result of the Artemis mission.

The space agency hopes this colony will uncover new scientific discoveries, demonstrate new technological advancements and lay the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy. 

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