A week ago we knew about the delay of NASA missions to return to the moon around 2024, which is always bad news for any space enthusiast. Now it turns out that that delay is going to be even bigger, according an audit recently published.
In verbatim words: “Given the time required to complete testing of the new spacesuits and the Human Landing System (HLS) of the Artemis program, we predict that NASA will exceed its current schedule to send humans to the Moon by the end of 2024 for several years. “
Too many tests to do in too little time
“Several years” sounds like much later than the 2025 date that NASA had announced. The Blue Origin lawsuit (from which it failed) has already affected mission development, and all the pending tests have ended up weighing too heavily. The report concludes that the mission it will be done in 2026 “at the earliest”.
In parallel we have the orbital flight tests of Starship, the spacecraft that SpaceX is preparing for those trips on the moon. About her the report comments that Elon Musk progresses at a better pace, but that still there is still too much work to do until it can serve the lunar ambitions of the American government.
In short, it appears that NASA has been overly optimistic both in its initial plans and in its first delay. Rather than speak of a five-year race to the moon, it will be necessary to extend to the entire decade.