Members of a NASA advisory committee expressed doubts that the agency can return humans to the moon by 2024 as currently planned, as well as concerns about the approach the agency is using to develop lunar landers.
German space company OHB is moving ahead with plans to launch a commercial lunar lander mission in cooperation with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in late 2022 as it looks for government and commercial customers.
A NASA evaluation suggests that the agency selected SpaceX for one of the three human lunar lander awards as a high-risk, high-reward option that could provide significant capability but may not be ready in time for a 2024 landing.
NASA announced April 30 it has selected three companies to begin work on designs for human lunar landers, one of which the agency still hopes will be ready to land humans on the moon by the end of 2024.
A study by a space propulsion company concludes that a human return to the moon by 2024 will require minimizing the launches needed for the lunar lander and also using storable, rather than cryogenic, propellants.
A revised plan for returning astronauts to the surface of the moon by 2024 will no longer rely on the use of a lunar Gateway, although NASA’s human spaceflight head says the agency is still committed to eventually developing it.
A top NASA official said Feb. 28 he expects the first flight of the Space Launch System to take place in the second half of 2021, a later date than prior agency statements.
The White House is proposing to increase NASA’s budget by more than two and a half billion dollars in fiscal year 2021, providing substantially increased funding for the Artemis program while seeking once again to cancel several science and education programs.
NASA has reissued a task order for its commercial lunar lander services program whose withdrawal, without explanation, in late January frustrated many of the companies involved.
Blue Origin will perform tests of the engine it is developing for its Blue Moon lunar lander at a U.S. Air Force Research Lab test site, the two organizations announced Jan. 27.
A team led by Dynetics that includes Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is among the bidders for a NASA program to develop landers that will carry astronauts to the surface of the moon.
NASA has delayed the release of a task order that’s part of its commercial lunar lander program for the delivery of a rover at the south pole of the moon, a decision some lander companies have quietly welcomed.
The head of India’s space agency confirmed Jan. 1 that it will attempt a second lunar landing, making that mission one of the top priorities of India’s space program.