NASA is going to miss its moon landing target date by ‘several YEARS,’ watchdog report says, just days after the agency itself pushed back its target to 2025 after billions in cost overruns and lawsuits 

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  • A report by NASA’s Inspector General says the space agency will miss its goal of landing humans on the Moon by ‘several years’ at the end of 2024.
  • Human landing systems and timing of development and testing of new spacesuits are the primary reasons
  • NASA is not properly estimating costs for the Artemis program and could cost $93 billion between fiscal years 2021 and 2025
  • NASA recently extended its target date to send astronauts back to the Moon to 2025 at the earliest.

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The US space agency will miss its goal of landing humans on the Moon by ‘several years’ in late 2024, citing cost escalation and lawsuits, a NASA inspector general report said. pushed back its initial target date.

“Given the time required for the development and thorough testing of the HLS and the new spacesuit, we anticipate that NASA may extend its current timetable for landing humans on the Moon by the end of 2024 by several years,” the IG wrote in its statement. will cross. report good, released on Monday.

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The report also noted that NASA is not properly estimating all costs for the Artemis program and could cost up to $93 billion between fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2025, when needed for missions beyond Artemis III. $25 billion is taken into account.

‘Without capturing, accurate reporting and underestimating future costs’ [Space Launch System]/ Orion mission, the agency will face significant challenges to maintain its Artemis program in its current configuration,’ the report said.

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A report by NASA’s Inspector General says the space agency will miss its goal of landing humans on the Moon by ‘several years’ at the end of 2024.

Image: Orion Capsule.  Human landing systems and timing of development and testing of new spacesuits are the primary reasons

Image: Orion Capsule. Human landing systems and timing of development and testing of new spacesuits are the primary reasons

NASA is not properly estimating costs for the Artemis program and could cost $93 billion between fiscal years 2021 and 2025, the Office of the Inspector General's audit report said

NASA is not properly estimating costs for the Artemis program and could cost $93 billion between fiscal years 2021 and 2025, the Office of the Inspector General’s audit report said

Last week, NASA extended its target date for its Artemis program to send astronauts back to the Moon by 2025 at the earliest.

During a November 9 media briefing, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that the Origin and Space Launch System (SLS) crewed test flight on Artemis II is now targeting May 2024 – thus advancing the lunar landing to next year. is increasing.

Nelson says seven months of litigation on the Blue Origin lawsuit, the coronavirus pandemic and unexpected cost escalations have played a part in the schedule change.

The 2024 deadline was first unveiled by then-Vice President Mike Pence during the 2019 meeting of the White House’s Space Council.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson says seven months of litigation on the Blue Origin lawsuit, the coronavirus pandemic and unexpected cost escalations have all played a part in the change in schedule.  Blue Origin sues NASA for choosing SpaceX (pictured) to build a manned lunar lander

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson says seven months of litigation on the Blue Origin lawsuit, the coronavirus pandemic and unexpected cost escalations have all played a part in the change in schedule. Blue Origin sues NASA for choosing SpaceX (pictured) to build a manned lunar lander

NASA is using SpaceX, a provider for the Human Landing System (HLS), which resulted in a lawsuit on behalf of competitor Blue Origin that the Jeff Bezos-founded company ultimately lost.

The Inspector General’s report said that even if NASA used only one provider because it received $2.5 billion less from Congress than it requested to develop HLS, it runs the risk of falling behind due to a technical glitch. .

“Over the past year, NASA plans to strengthen its HLS requirements and standards, establish insight and collaboration teams, and establish resident offices at SpaceX,” the report said.

‘However, under a NASA-compliant project management approach, HLS will use less standardized milestone reviews and will instead use other techniques such as annual synchronization reviews throughout development and testing, but this approach will be followed by technological changes in development. runs the risk of.’

Nelson (pictured) recently slammed Congress for not providing enough funding to build a manned landing system

Nelson (pictured) recently slammed Congress for not providing enough funding to build a human landing system

During last week’s press conference, Nelson told Congress during the briefing not to provide enough funding to build a human landing system and that the ‘Trump administration’s 2024 manned landing target was not based on technical feasibility.’

There is also the possibility that a lack of a systems integrator or program manager for Artemis could backfire on NASA’s approach to using collaborative processes, including a ‘new board and a multi-directorate council’.

‘The effectiveness of this approach remains to be seen. While these modified approaches have the potential benefit of reducing costs and encouraging innovation, they also increase the potential for schedule and performance risks on NASA’s human-rated systems.’

The Inspector General made nine recommendations to help increase the accuracy, transparency and safety of human flight:

  1. Develop a realistic, risk-informed program that includes sufficient margin to better align the agency’s expectations with the development program
  2. Expand existing draft Artemis IMS to include outside Artemis programs [Advanced Exploration Systems] And [Exploration Systems Development] To properly align dependencies across directorates.
  3. Develop an Artemis-wide cost estimate and update it on an annual basis.
  4. Maintain an account of per-mission costs and establish a benchmark against which NASA can assess the outcome of initiatives to increase the capability of ESD systems.
  5. Define outstanding Artemis-related contracts within 180 days in accordance with NASA FAR Supplement 1843.7005(a).
  6. Develop a realistic funding profile and schedule given HLS’s desire to compete in fiscal 2021 underfunding, selection of an HLS award, and a sustainability contract for future lunar missions.
  7. Identify measurable cost reduction goals for your ESD contractors. We also recommended a NASA chief engineer in coordination with the HLS program manager.
  8. Validated Annual Synchronization Reviews meet the intent and expectations of milestone reviews replaced by tailored acquisition approaches, and NASA’s Deputy Administrator …

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