The space agency\’s ambitious plan to land humans on the Moon within 3 years has been delayed.
Back in 2019, Vice President Mike Pence announced that US astronauts would walk on the lunar surface within a mere 5 years through NASA\’s ongoing Artemis program.
Since then, however, things haven\’t exactly gone to plan.
Earlier this year, it was reported that the new spacesuits that would be worn by the astronauts during their trip to the Moon would not be ready in time, making the 2024 deadline seem unlikely.
Things went from bad to worse when a lack of funding, coupled with a legal dispute between NASA, SpaceX and Blue Origin, also delayed the completion date of the new lunar lander.
As expected, therefore, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has now confirmed that the mission to land astronauts on the lunar surface has been pushed back to 2025 at the earliest.
“Returning to the Moon as quickly and safely as possible is an agency priority,” he said.
“However, with the recent lawsuit and other factors, the first human landing under Artemis is likely no earlier than 2025.”
The legal issues stemmed from NASA awarding the contract to build the lunar lander to SpaceX, a decision that Blue Origin\’s Jeff Bezos hotly contested because he argued that NASA had previously stipulated that the contract would be awarded to more than one bidder.
The decision to award it solely to SpaceX ultimately came down to an unexpected funding shortfall.
Not all is lost, however, as the first uncrewed test mission of NASA\’s Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) is still scheduled to take place sometime next year.
We should still also see a manned Moon landing in the not-too-distant future – it will simply take a little longer than NASA had previously anticipated.