NASA got out of the way with the end of the HLS soap opera, but it still fell behind.
After months of clashes in judicial terrain, Blue Origin ended up admitting defeat in its attempt to win back the Artemis program. But Jeff Bezos may have been a good loser for once, on the NASA side, the damage has already been done; as we already expected, Bill Nelson officially confirmed the postponement of the Artemis 3 mission to 2025 during a press conference.
“We lost almost seven months in legal proceedings”, Explains the administrator of NASA. “We now estimate that Artemis 3 will not take place until 2025He laments. So Man will not return to the Moon until 2025, and this is the most optimistic estimate.
HLS: the beginning of trouble for NASA
As a reminder, it all started when NASA had to choose a partner for the contract for the HLS lander, a central and very prestigious part of the program. At first, the agency had hinted that it would award of them contracts. But following highly questionable maneuvers of the blue team, however, she finally changed her mind.
In the end, she put all her eggs in one basket: Space X. No wonder, knowing that this is a much more technically advanced partner with whom she already had a relationship. privileged. But Bezos and Blue Origin, who already saw themselves on the trip, responded with real judicial storme. It was so violent that it simply crippled the program for months on end.
There is still a long way to go
In addition to this battle with Blue Origin, NASA also had to contend withothers factors which greatly complicated the task. He quotes the influence of Covid-19, which still weighs heavily on the logistics chain. He also denounces the irresponsibility of the Trump administration; according to him, this one had voted a derisory budget while imposing deadlines “without taking into account their practical feasibility”.
Since they were successful, SpaceX and NASA can now resume their joint work. But they will have to redouble their efforts to meet these new deadlines. Artemis-1, the first test mission without astronauts in the program, does not appear to be compromised; his departure is still scheduled for 2022.
On the other hand, everything gets complicated from Artemis-2. This second mission, which this time will embark astronauts near the Moon, was initially scheduled for 2023; it will also probably be delayed. Administrator Nelson now speaks of a “potential take-off in May 2024”.
It is also around this period that SpaceX should be ready to carry out its first landing test; this essential step will be carried out on the Moon in real conditions, but without astronauts on board. On the other hand, it is still too early to make predictions on the exact date. So Artemis is back on track… but NASA still has very long months of hard work ahead of it.