NASA Delays Plan to Revisit the Moon

NASA Delays Plan to Revisit the Moon

( – In 2019, former Vice President Mike Pence announced that NASA’s newly formed Armetis program would put a person on the moon by 2024. New estimates have the date at least a year behind earlier expectations. Cutbacks in the space program budget in addition to the pandemic, and almost seven months in litigation with competitor Blue Origin, set the government’s projections for a moon landing into 2025 at the earliest.

The three-phase lunar mission is due to start in February 2022 with the unmanned Artemis I flying around the moon for testing. The second launch will include a crew that will travel about 40,000 miles past the moon, farther than humans have ever traveled in space. Artemis 3 will be a crewed lunar landing approximately a year or so later.

Funding for these missions has been an issue, causing NASA to turn to the private sector. The organization chose SpaceX to build its lunar lander instead of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin company and defended its decision in court. On November 4, the US Court of Federal Claims ruled in favor of NASA and its choice of SpaceX, but the time in court put the launch behind schedule.

NASA is planning at least 10 future moon landings using funds in the anticipated 2023 budget.

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