NASA Delays Return to the Moon to 2025 (at the Earliest)

(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) — NASA on Tuesday delayed putting astronauts back on the moon until 2025 at the earliest, missing the deadline set by the Trump administration.

Space agency was aiming to launch astronauts on the Moon in 2024, which would have been 50 years ago.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson stated that Congress had not provided enough funding to create a landing platform for Artemis’ moon program. He also said more money would be needed to fund its Orion capsule. In addition, a legal challenge by Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, Blue Origin, stalled work for months on the Starship lunar landing system under development by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
[time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

Officials indicated that the technology to create new spacesuits must also be improved before astronauts can go back to the moon.

NASA plans to fly its space rocket Space Launch System next February with an Orion capsule. Nobody will be aboard. Instead, the astronauts will be strapped in for Artemis 2, flying to orbit beyond the moon and not landing on the Moon in 2024. This is a year earlier than expected. Nelson stated that it would push the moon landing date to 2025.

“The human landing system is a crucial part of our work to get the first woman and the first person of color to the lunar surface, and we are getting geared up to go,” Nelson told reporters. “NASA is committed to help restore America’s standing in the world.”

Nelson made note of China’s ambitious and aggressive space program, and warned it could overtake the U.S. in lunar exploration.

NASA’s last moon landing by astronauts occurred during Apollo 17 in 1972. Twelve men were responsible for exploring the lunar surface.

During a National Space Council meeting in 2019, Vice President Mike Pence called for landing astronauts on the moon within five years “by any means necessary.” NASA had been shooting for a lunar landing in 2028, and pushing it up by four years was considered at the time exceedingly ambitious, if not improbable.

Nelson explained that Congress needs to raise funding beginning with the budget for 2023 to allow NASA to attract private firms to the moon landings.

The space agency also is requesting a bigger budget for its Orion capsules, from $6.7 billion to $9.3 billion, citing delays during the coronavirus pandemic and storm damage to NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, the main manufacturing site for SLS and Orion. The rocket’s development costs to fly the first Artemis flight in 2019 are estimated at $11 billion.

Kamala Harris, Vice President, will chair her first National Space Council meeting. Nelson said he updated her on the latest schedule and costs during their visit to Maryland’s Goddard Space Flight Center on Friday.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. All content remains the responsibility of the Associated Press.


Related Articles

Back to top button