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Wednesday, November 10, 2021
The space agency had been aiming for 2024 for the first moon landing by astronauts in a half-century.
In announcing the delay, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said Congress did not provide enough money to develop a landing system for its Artemis moon program and more money is needed for its Orion capsule. In addition, a legal challenge by Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, Blue Origin, stalled work for months on the Starship lunar landing system under development by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Officials said technology for new spacesuits also needs to ramp up, before astronauts can return to the moon.
NASA is still targeting next February for the first test flight of its moon rocket, the Space Launch System, or SLS, with an Orion capsule. No one will be on board. Instead, astronauts will strap in for the second Artemis flight, flying beyond the moon but not landing in 2024, a year later than planned. That would bump the moon landing to at least 2025, according to Nelson.
"By the way, Denise, Brenda, Ian, Atoosa, we are well over 100% of required signatures for the petitions," Megan Jenkins said during the public comment period. "So I'm not going to encourage any of you to resign because when you are recalled and removed from office, it will be much more satisfying. See you in court."
Jenkins had been referring to Board Chair Brenda Sheridan (Sterling District), Board Vice-Chair Atoosa Reaser (Algonkian District), Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge District) and Denise Corbo, the at-large member. Ian Prior, a father and executive director at Fight for Schools, previously told Fox News that his organization had compiled all the signatures to mount legal challenges to each of those four board members, although he filed the petition to oust Sheridan on Tuesday.