NASA has announced a delay in its plans to return humans to the moon. After originally planning to launch a crew in 2024, the agency says it now targeting a launch window no earlier than 2025.
According to NASA administrator Bill Nelson, one of the main reasons for the delay is due to overly optimistic timelines developed by the Trump administration in 2017.
“The Trump administration’s target of 2024 human landing was not grounded in technical feasibility,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson told reporters on a conference call. (via CNBC)
Another reason cited by Nelson was the recent Blue Origin lawsuit. Jeff Bezos’ company sued NASA over the $2.9 billion lunar lander contract being awarded to SpaceX in April.
After a months long court battle, a federal judge ruled against Bezos and Blue Origin last week.
Due to the ongoing litigation, SpaceX suspended all work with NASA until the suit was resolved. As a result, nearly seven months of work was lost, Nelson explained.
Dubbed the Artemis Program, the first mission to orbit the moon will launch in 2022, but will be unmanned. A crewed Artemis II mission, planned for 2024, will also orbit the moon, but astronauts won’t set foot on the surface until the now-delayed Artemis III mission.