Two NASA astronauts and members of the Crew-2 have successfully returned to earth after spending nearly six months at the International Space Station. However, the aerospace agency has revealed that the most ambitious Artemis mission is much more likely to suffer a delay. While NASA hoped to complete their Artemis moon program by 2024, the plan has now been pushed by another year due to the pandemic difficulties and the series of lawsuits filed by Jeff Bezos’ aerospace company Blue Origin.
In a recently held news conference, NASA administrator Bill Nelson said, “As a result of the lawsuits, the first human landing is likely to happen no earlier than 2025. The Artemis 3 lander on the first demonstration landing is not expected before 2025.” While Bezos’ space company protested against NASA’s decision to award a multi-billion dollar contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, a federal judge recently rejected the lawsuit, allowing NASA-SpaceX to resume their work.
Furthermore, Nelson even blamed Congress for not providing enough budget to develop a landing system for their Artemis lunar program. But what surprised everyone was Nelson comment on China’s expanding space program which could overtake the US lunar mission. Nelson added, “We are facing a very aggressive and good Chinese space program,” as he highlighted the point. But he also assured many by talking about the aggressive approach that they plan to adopt. To beat competitors with boots on the moon, we will be as aggressive and technically feasible as we can.
In relation to space explorations, NASA has launched nearly three crews aboard SpaceX capsules to the space center, and is currently preparing for the launch of Crew-2.