NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced that the space agency is postponing the human landing on the Moon until at least 2025.
One of the reasons for the delay is the lack of funding. NASA initially planned to land astronauts on the Moon in 2024. However, Nelson noted that Congress had not allocated enough money to develop a lunar lander. The agency also needs more money to develop a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket designed to send humans into deep space and the Moon inside a new Orion spacecraft.
The rocket was originally scheduled to launch in 2017 and is currently expected to make its debut test flight with the Orion capsule in February 2022. No one will be on board of this flight.
Astronauts will participate in the second flight. In 2024, they will fly near the Moon, but will not land on it. This flight will occur a year later than planned. And, as a result, the landing on the Earth's satellite will take place no earlier than 2025.
NASA also needs to improve the spacesuits designed for the Moon mission. They should have been ready for testing no later than March 31, but the deadline was shifted to November 2024. However, NASA's August report predicts that the suits will not be ready until April 2025 at the earliest.
In addition, Jeff Bezos' lawsuit against NASA also affected the shift in the schedule of the Artemis mission. Initially, NASA planned to contract two companies to build a lunar lander, but due to limited funding, the space agency chose only SpaceX.
This prompted Blue Origin to file a federal lawsuit over the decision. The lawsuit played a significant role in the delay of the mission, as it prevented NASA and SpaceX from working together on the lunar lander project.
NASA astronauts first landed on the Moon in 1972.