NASA Announces Delays in Moon Mission

by Warren Seah


NASA has revealed that astronauts will have to wait until next year before flying to the moon, along with further delays in landing on it. This announcement was made on Tuesday, citing safety and technical issues as the primary reasons for the schedule changes.

Initially, the space agency had planned to send four astronauts around the moon later this year, but the flight has now been rescheduled for September 2025. The first human moon landing in over 50 years has also been pushed back from 2025 to September 2026.

According to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, safety remains their top priority. These delays will allow the Artemis teams more time to address the various challenges associated with the mission.

Shortly before NASA’s announcement, a Pittsburgh-based company had to abandon its own attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon due to a mission-ending fuel leak.

This lunar mission was a part of NASA’s commercial lunar program, where Astrobotic Technology’s Peregrine lander was intended to serve as a scout for the upcoming astronauts. However, a Houston-based company will now take on this responsibility with its own lander next month.

It’s worth noting that NASA is heavily relying on private companies for its Artemis moon-landing program, which is named after the mythological twin sister of Apollo. To transport the Artemis moonwalkers from lunar orbit to the surface and back, SpaceX’s Starship mega rocket will be utilized. However, this nearly 400-foot rocket has only been launched from Texas twice, and unfortunately, both attempts ended in explosions over the Gulf of Mexico.

The Race to Return to the Moon

NASA’s ambitious plan to return astronauts to the moon after nearly five decades faces significant challenges. One major obstacle is the development and successful deployment of Elon Musk’s Starship, which will be crucial for sending crews and satellites into orbit around the Earth. Additionally, Axiom Space, based in Houston, is working on creating specialized moonwalking suits, which are also vital for the mission’s success.

A timeline projection by the Government Accountability Office indicates that NASA may have to wait until 2027 for its first astronaut moon landing. This delay could be attributed to the technical difficulties associated with Starship and the testing of moonwalking suits by Axiom Space. The mission is incredibly intricate, demanding that all components be ready and successful in order for it to proceed smoothly.

Currently, NASA has completed only one Artemis moonshot. In 2022, the space agency successfully conducted a test flight with its new moon rocket, sending an empty Orion capsule into lunar orbit and bringing it back safely to Earth. This capsule will be the vessel used by astronauts to travel to and from the moon, connecting with Starship in lunar orbit for their journey down to the surface.

To make the trip possible, Starship will need to refuel in orbit around Earth. SpaceX plans to establish an orbiting fuel depot specifically for this purpose, but this aspect of the program has not yet been demonstrated.

Unfortunately, NASA’s moon-landing efforts have faced repeated delays over the past decade, resulting in ballooning costs. Government audits predict that the total program expenses will reach $93 billion by 2025. However, despite these setbacks and financial implications, NASA remains determined to overcome the challenges and fulfill its mission of returning humans to the moon.

You may also like

Leave a Comment