GAO of NASA’s plan to return astronauts to the moon by 2024

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Conceptual representation of the Artemis mission.

Conceptual illustration of the Artemis mission.
picture: our

The Government Accountability Office mentioned Due to technical dangers and NASA’s ongoing administration issues, it’s more and more potential that the moon touchdown plan is not going to be potential in simply three and a half years.

GAO raised these issues in a 50-page report titled NASA’s Moon Project: There is still a lot of work to be done, highlighting the challenges of achieving the moon landing in 2024.That report Say NASA has made some progress in the previous few years, however the “rapid progress” and imminent “technical risks” imply that “the moon landing in 2024 is less likely.”

NASA was initially advised to plan a touchdown in 2028. But March In 2019, the Trump administration postponed the Artemis 3 mission to 2024 (Artemis 1 will contain the first launch of the NASA Space Launch System or SLS, whereas Artemis 2 will contain manned missions to the moon and the moon, however no moon touchdown) . The Biden administration has expressed help for Artemis 3, however has not but selected a timetable for 2024.The new report is Issued by the non-partisan supervisory company of Congress on May 26, It could have a severe influence on the manner the president needs issues to transfer ahead.

That is to say, NASA continues to work on an accelerated schedule, which is affecting the improvement of a number of lunar applications, together with the robotic lunar rover, the human touchdown system (HLS) and the Gateway, An area station in orbit on the moon.

The new GAO report is the outcome of a funding request made by Congress in 2018. GAO officers analyzed mission paperwork, studied the 2020 NASA-sponsored moon program analysis, and interviewed key NASA officers to assess progress and potential dangers (SLS evaluation). Orion Crew cabin, And as a result of it was reviewed final yr, the floor system was excluded). As GAO famous that since its final report in December 2019, NASA has made some progress, citing contracts between Gateway and HLS.

“However, due to continuous demand changes, the use of immature technology, and the pending mission decision of whether NASA will use the Gateway for the 2024 lunar landing, these plans still face several challenges.” GAO mentioned. “These challenges and an ambitious timetable reduce the likelihood that NASA will reach the 2024 moon landing goal.”

In phrases of technical dangers, GAO expressed concern about HLS, saying that the progress of the plan is unrealistic. According to the report, due to the complexity required to help human spaceflight, the improvement of the system takes “a few months” quicker than different spaceflight procedures.NASA just lately Grant Signed a contract with SpaceX to develop HLS, however work has been time out To be decided Review The bidding course of. GAO can also be frightened Gateway mentioned that the lunar publish can have to “rely on power and propulsion technology that has never been used before, and the contractor’s efforts to develop this technology have fallen behind schedule.”

Specific administration complaints embody the lack of exact value estimates for Artemis 3. touchdown Vague estimates and value benchmarks associated to the work completed by personal companions. extra importantly, Mr. Gao mentioned NASA has not designated Artemis as a proper program, which prevents the area company from following NASA’s program administration coverage.Therefore, the report said NASA “lack a final roadmap on how to plan this work. “

“NASA assigned Artemis’ mission roles and responsibilities to specific departments based on research findings; however, the agency has not yet clearly documented how it determines the key procedures and technical tools planned to guide mission decisions.. “If you do not do that, NASA will be unable to be sure that it has the correct processes to observe how the mission achieves its objectives and deal with mission-level dangers.”

“The GAO report launched at present ought to ship a transparent alarm to NASA’s management and members of Congress, saying that NASA’s Artemis Moon-Mars program is dealing with severe troubles, and whether it is to succeed, it wants to take robust corrective measures.” Tail. House Science, Space Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (Eddie Bernice Johnson), And expertise says statement Proposed by Congress.

Johnson said these issues are not only budgetary issues, but also “organizational weaknesses”, reliance on unproven technology, “unrealistic timetables and acquisition strategies,” the result of, and other complaints. The chairman asked for an independent review of the entire Artemis business, which will put NASA on the “street of enforceability.” She said that if the problem is not resolved, it will result in a “wasted cash” and may lead to a plan that puts “the standing of astronauts and our nation” at risk. “

In its report GAO made 4 key suggestions.Watchdog recommendation our Create a backup Plan to speed up the improvement of the gateway and rethink the energy and propulsion components of the station, And consider the technical dangers related to the photo voltaic electrical propulsion system of the system. excessive Also really helpful The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has perfected insurance policies associated to procurement and expertise administration practices.

Interestingly, NASA was advised to cut back the value of the upcoming robotic lunar rover.Called Viper, The value of the lunar rover is 226.5 million U.S. {dollars}. NASA agrees to all suggestions, besides these associated to VIPER.But excessive adhere to This “recommendation is still valid”.

Reading the report, at the least for me, is easy and may give NASA a brand new timeline for the Artemis mission. According to the present timetable, it isn’t clear whether or not NASA can take corrective measures. We have been ready for a manned mission to the moon for practically 50 years, and if that’s what is required to maintain issues secure, we are able to wait a number of extra years.

sea: Meet NASA’s new water hunt, crater lunar probe VIPER.