Artemis 3 Mission: NASA Astronaut Moon Landing Likely To Miss Its 2025 Deadline, Finds Report

Artemis 3 Mission: NASA Astronaut Moon Landing Likely To Miss Its 2025 Deadline, Finds Report

According to the GAO, out of 13 major events, 8 events in the Human Landing System had already been delayed by at least 6 months as of September 2023.

Aditi ThakurUpdated: Saturday, December 02, 2023, 06:40 PM IST
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NASA's ambitious Artemis 3 Mission to land humans on moon likely to miss its 2025 deadline | File

NASA's Artemis III mission is experiencing delays, and the USA's most ambitious project seems likely to breach its 2025 deadline. The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed the challenges that NASA is presently encountering with the programs.

The report was released on Thursday by the US Government Accountability Office, which stressed two reasons for the program's delay. SpaceX failed to fully build its 'Starship Human Landing System' (HLS) and delayed the Axiom spacesuit development, which was mainly picked for lunar missions.

Artemis III lunar landing is unlikely in 2025, GAO finds

The GAO report said, "NASA and its contractors continue to face several challenges despite their progress, which includes the completion of several significant milestones. GAO concluded that it is unlikely that the Artemis III crewed lunar landing will take place in 2025."

The Human Landing System (HLS) program aims to finish development in 79 months, which is 13 months faster than the average. However, due to the project's complexity, this is unrealistic. This is why the GAO believes Artemis 3 will happen in early 2027 rather than in 2025. 

"If the HLS development takes as many months as NASA's major projects do, on average, the Artemis III mission would likely occur in early 2027," the report read.

8 out of 13 major events already delayed 

According to the GAO, out of 13 major events, 8 events in the Human Landing System had already been delayed by at least 6 months as of September 2023. Following the initial plans, two of these events have been pushed back to 2025, the year the lander was supposed to launch. The Orbital Flight Test, which aimed to test some elements of the launch vehicle and lander combination in flight, was partly responsible for the delay. 

The test has been postponed by 7 months to April 2023. The test vehicle was cut short when it diverged from its anticipated path and began to tumble.

To support the Artemis 3 mission, SpaceX must also complete a large amount of complex technical work. While in orbit, this entails showing the capability of storing and transferring propellant. Multiple tankers will carry propellant to a 'depot' in space before moving it to the human landing system, the most crucial part of putting astronauts on the moon, and the company has been able to achieve only modest progress in this part until now. 

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