It looks like we can kiss our chances of a 2024 moon landing goodbye because NASA’s development of the space suits needed for the mission will be delayed by almost two years.
According to an inspector report released on Tuesday, the space suits — which will cost more than $US1 billion — won’t be ready until “April 2025 at the earliest”.
The report has also gone so far as to assert that the current moon landing plans will have to be axed.
“Given these anticipated delays in spacesuit development, a lunar landing in late 2024 as NASA currently plans is not feasible,” the report states.
So far, NASA has already spent a staggering $AU571 million on space suit development since 2007, but plans to invest an additional $AU850.8 million before 2025.
While this may seem like a wild amount of money to spend, NASA’s space suits haven’t been upgraded since the 1970s — and are in dire need of an upgrade. Considering we had to cancel a world-first all-women space walk in 2019 because the space suits simply couldn’t accomodate the female body, it’s probably worth investing in some suits that are a bit more modern.
The 2024 mission — developed as part of the Trump administration’s Artemis program — would’ve been the first time humans have landed on the surface of the moon since 1972.
However, it’s not exactly surprising that the mission has been delayed considering President Joe Biden’s transition team said the 2024 deadline “wasn’t realistic” when they assumed office in early 2021.
“One of the transition team findings was that 2024, given the appropriations from Congress at least in the last two years, 2024 wasn’t realistic,” NASA’s acting chief of staff Bhavya Lal said.
Not to mention, NASA has enlisted the help of 27 different contractors to build different parts of the space suit, according to the report. As you could expect, this leaves room for error and delays.
Or, as a private space mogul Elon Musk says, “seems like too many cooks in the kitchen”.
Seems like too many cooks in the kitchen— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 10, 2021
Following the report, NASA’s human exploration chief Kathy Lueders has asserted that the first space suit test will be carried out next year. However, there’s no word yet on when the 2024 mission will actually go ahead.