CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA’s Artemis moon mission program is under scrutiny from various parties, including legislators, auditors, and the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP). Questions have been raised about the program’s goals, timeline, and cost, prompting concerns about the feasibility of the upcoming Artemis 3 mission.
ASAP, an independent group that reports to NASA and Congress, has highlighted its concerns about the ambitious nature of the Artemis 3 mission. The group, which focuses on safety, expressed apprehension about the numerous “firsts” included in the mission’s objectives, particularly the Human Landing System (HLS) and the extravehicular activity (EVA) spacesuits, both of which will debut during the high-profile mission.
The panel has advised NASA to consider redistributing the Artemis 3 milestones more evenly among other missions to alleviate the extraordinary pressure for timely execution of a schedule that is beyond NASA’s full control. Additionally, ASAP’s report raises doubts about the feasibility of launching Artemis 3 within 12 months of Artemis 2, given the long list of accomplishments that must happen in between.
Despite the concerns raised, the broad ambition of the Artemis program presents an opportunity for NASA to expand the mission’s nomenclature beyond just Orion capsule flights. By doing so, NASA can redistribute the risk identified by ASAP and highlight the major milestones toward a long-term goal of establishing a continuous presence on the moon.
Ultimately, the Artemis missions are infrequent and years apart, prompting calls for a more comprehensive approach that effectively redistributes the risk and highlights the significant milestones toward sustained lunar presence. As the program continues to evolve, it is crucial for NASA to address the concerns raised by ASAP and other stakeholders to ensure the success of the Artemis moon mission program.