Washington: NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told reporters on Tuesday that the United States will send a manned mission to the moon “no earlier than 2025”, officially delaying the launch for at least one year.
The administration of former President Donald Trump set a goal for 2024 when it launched the Artemis Plan.
But the plan has since faced numerous development delays from its vehicle to the required spacesuit.
Last week, NASA won a lawsuit filed by Jeff Bezos Blue Origin, which filed a lawsuit after losing its SpaceX lander contract with Elon Musk.
“We lost nearly seven months in litigation and that likely has pushed the first human landing likely to no earlier than 2025,” Nelson said on a call.
“The good news is that NASA is making solid progress,” said Nelson, citing the fact that the mission s Orion crew capsule has since last week been stacked atop the giant Space Launch System rocket at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA is targeting a first uncrewed mission, Artemis 1, in February 2022, and Artemis 2, the first crewed mission that will perform a flyby of the Moon, in 2024.
Separately, SpaceX needs to carry out an uncrewed landing to test out the lunar version of its Starship rocket, before the same vehicle is used for the crewed landing.
Nelson revealed that NASA’s commitment to Orion’s total development cost is 9.3 billion U.S. dollars, including the period from 2012 to 2024, which is higher than the previous estimate of 6.7 billion U.S. dollars.