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Human landing on Moon delayed: Reasons unveiled

Human landing on Moon delayed: Reasons unveiled NASA may not meet the deadline to send people to the Moon (Collage: RBC-Ukraine)
Author: Daria Shekina

The extensive NASA mission to return humans to the Moon is facing significant delays and revisions to the timelines due to discouraging audit findings, according to the website of scientific news, Cosmos Magazine.

Mission Artemis III is set to become the first manned Moon landing since 1972, involving the launch of the Orion spacecraft with astronauts into lunar orbit, where it will dock with SpaceX's Starship HLS module for descent. The plan includes a lunar surface excursion by two astronauts at the Moon's south pole, lasting about a week, followed by a return to Earth.

Presently, the Artemis III mission is scheduled for the end of 2025; however, auditors claim that NASA practically has no possibility of meeting this timeline, citing four key reasons.

Ambitious schedule

The authors of the Human Landing System (HLS) program, responsible for developing the lunar descent module, aim to complete the project within 79 months, from the start of development to the manned flight. This timeline is 13 months shorter than the average time for major NASA projects, most of which do not involve human spaceflight.

Delays with key events

As of September 2023, at least 6 out of 13 critical events within the HLS program were delayed by SpaceX, two of which were pushed to 2025, coinciding with the planned Artemis III mission.

Significant remaining workload

SpaceX is tasked with numerous complex technical operations for the Artemis III project, including developing fuel storage and transfer technology in space. According to official NASA documentation, SpaceX has had limited success in developing the necessary technologies to address this task.

Design issues

Axiom, the company responsible for creating lunar spacesuits, faces significant technical issues. For instance, NASA's initial suit design did not meet the minimum requirements for emergency support needed for the Artemis III mission. Consequently, Axiom representatives suggested potential redesigns, possibly leading to a delay in suit delivery for the mission.

These circumstances make the likelihood of Artemis III's flight in 2025 highly improbable. Its actual realization might be postponed to 2027 or even later. It's worth noting that the United States intends to return to the Moon for the first time since 1972.

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