NASA had been aiming to put men back on the moon by 2024. Alas, that is not to be. Yesterday, Nasa administrator, Bill Nelson, quickly began fingerpointing saying Congress had not allocated enough money to develop a landing system for its Artemis moon program. In addition, Nelson says a legal challenge by Jeff Bezos’s rocket company, Blue Origin, stalled work for months on the Starship lunar landing system under development by Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Oh, and NASA also says technology for new spacesuits is also needed before we can return to the moon.
Nasa is still targeting next February 2022 for the first unmanned test flight of the Space Launch System, or SLS, with an Orion capsule. Astronauts however, will not be on board until the second Artemis flight, flying beyond the moon but not landing, in 2024. That would bump the moon landing to at least 2025, according to Nelson.
Nelson has long warned that China’s ambitious and aggressive space program and warned it could overtake the US in lunar exploration.