A limited supply chain and the demands of the Artemis program will prevent the use of the Space Launch System for alternative roles, such as launching science missions, until at least late this decade.
NASA should be able to set a new date for the Artemis 1 launch within a few weeks of the Green Run static-fire test of the Space Launch System core stage, assuming that test goes as expected.
NASA is no longer considering launching the Europa Clipper mission on the Space Launch System, deciding instead to launch the spacecraft on a commercial rocket it will procure in the next year.
NASA has issued a request for information for launch services for its Europa Clipper mission, a sign the agency is taking advantage of language in a recent appropriations bill that allows it to consider alternatives to the Space Launch System.
Congress will provide NASA with nearly $23.3 billion in the final fiscal year 2021 omnibus spending bill, restoring several science programs but falling far short of the funding sought for a lunar lander program.
The White House is asking Congress to remove language from an appropriations bill that would direct NASA to launch the Europa Clipper mission on the Space Launch System as a long-running dispute on how to launch the mission nears its conclusion.
Cost overruns on three instruments for NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft led NASA to consider dropping them from the mission and ultimately requiring significant changes to some of them.
The management of NASA’s Europa Clipper mission, facing dwindling cost reserves while still years away from launch, is looking at cost saving options that would preserve the mission’s science.
Over the past 60 years, NASA has explored the solar system from the sun to the Kuiper belt. While many of these missions, especially those beyond Saturn, have been one-shot flybys, others have charted many of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn extensively by repeated orbital passes.