Kevin Wolf / AFP
NASA will not be ready to send astronauts to the moon by 2024 As planned because, among other reasons, the agency’s internal oversight body found that their spacesuits would not be ready.
in a a report This month, NASA’s inspector general found that due to delays in spacesuit development, “a lunar landing in late 2024 as NASA currently plans is not possible.” The report blames a lack of funding, the COVID-19 pandemic and “technical challenges” for the delay. The inspector general estimated that the closest spacesuits would be ready in April 2025.
The last time humans landed on the moon was in 1972. The space suits still used by NASA astronauts are still based on technology from the same era.
NASA was Developing new spacesuits Over the past 14 years, which has so far cost $420 million. The agency is expected to spend another $625 million by the time the two flight-ready suits are ready in fiscal year 2025.
Space suits aren’t the only reason NASA won’t reach the moon by 2024. The inspector general noted that delays include new space launch system missileThe Orion capsule and the lunar lander all prevent reaching the moon on time.
in April, NASA chose SpaceX To build a lunar probe for $2.9 billion. But a rival company, Blue Origin, has repeatedly objected, which the inspector general noted has caused delays.
And on Thursday, after the inspector general’s report is released, get to work on the lunar lander delayed again: suspended for two and a half months in response to The lawsuit brought by Blue Origin.
Landing on the new moon is part of Artemis . programAnd Which specifically aims to include a woman and a person of color among the people who will be walking on the moon, whenever possible. Later Artemis expeditions will attempt to establish a “base camp” for long-term exploration over a month or two. NASA says This would help inform future missions to Mars.
The moon landing was previously scheduled for 2028, but in 2019 the Trump administration pushed it forward by four years. NASA has not yet set a new official target date for a moon landing.
“Sending the first woman and first people of color to the lunar surface and establishing a long-term presence on the lunar surface under the command of Artemis is a priority for NASA,” a NASA spokesperson said in a statement. “The agency is evaluating the current budget and schedule for the Artemis expeditions and will provide an update later this year.”