(CTN News) – In a briefing scheduled for Tuesday, NASA is widely expected to delay the timeline for the Artemisare intended to return astronauts to the Moon following delays in contractors.
The US space agency announced in 2017 that Artemis, named after the sister of Apollo in Greek mythology, would be part of its efforts to establish a sustained presence on Earth’s nearest neighbor, and to apply lessons learned from that mission to future missions to Mars.
Artemis 1 was its first mission, an unmanned test flight to the Moon and back, which took place in 2022 after several postponements.
At present, the launch of Artemis 2, which involves a crew that does not land on the surface, is scheduled for the end of this year. An event called Artemis 3, during which the first woman and first person of color will set foot on lunar soil, is scheduled for 2025 at the Moon’s south pole,
Where NASA hopes to extract rocket propellant from the ice.
NASA is also considering building a lunar space station called Gateway where spacecraft will dock during future missions.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX has been awarded the contract to build a landing system for Artemis 3 based on its Starship rocket prototype, which has yet to reach its full potential. As of this writing, both of its orbital tests have resulted in explosions.
Additionally, delays to Starship result in spillover effects since the spacesuit contractor needs to understand how the suits will interface with the spacecraft and simulators need to be developed for astronauts to learn the spacecraft’s systems.
It was reported in October 2023 that NASA had obligated about $40 billion to 860 contractors for the Artemis campaign as of March 2023.
According to the report, the space agency lacks comprehensive visibility into the Artemis campaign’s subcontractors and subtier suppliers, which prevents it from coping with “numerous and ongoing” challenges in the supply chain.
As compared to the Apollo missions of the 20th century, the Artemis missions have made significant use of commercial partnerships, part of a broader strategy to involve private companies in space exploration to reduce costs.
Among other things, the space agency NASA paid the company Astrobotic more than $100 million for the transportation of important scientific probes to a region of the Moon at a mid-latitude.
This weekend’s mission appears to have failed after suffering a critical loss of fuel due to a propulsion system malfunction.