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NASA doubted the reality of the landing on the moon in 2024

North America / Engineering

Funding and technical issues could impede American ambitions to land on the moon in 2024.

NASA doubted the reality of the landing on the moon in 2024
Фото: Специалисты Northrop Grumman производят литье или наполнение ракетным топливом двигателя ракеты космической системы запуска NASA.

On Wednesday, a top NASA manager questioned the US space agency's ability to land astronauts on the moon in 2024. Kenneth Bowersox, acting assistant administrator for human research and research, told the congressional subcommittee that NASA is doing everything it can to meet the White House deadline, but added that it was not ready to make any bets on it.

Bowersox - the former commander of the space shuttle and space station - said it was good for NASA to have "this aggressive target." Much needs to come together, like funding and technical issues, for 2024 to have a chance, he said. “The important thing is that we will launch when we are ready, that we will have a successful assignment when it starts, and I'm not going to sit here and tell you that we will just do it arbitrarily,” he said in response to a question from a US representative. Bill Posey, R-FLorida. “There are many risks in setting a date, but we want to try to do that.

The Trump administration urged NASA in March to accelerate its latest moon landing plans by four years until 2024. The request came a few months before the 50th anniversary of the first lunar steps of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin from Apollo 11.

NASA named the program Artemis after the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology and promises that a woman will join the first team on the lunar trek. The pair would land at the south lunar pole, where huge reserves of frozen water could be used for future explorers. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein, who uses Artemis every chance he gets, stresses that the goal this time is to ensure sustainability, with the Moon serving as a critical testing ground for expeditions to Mars, possibly in the 2030s.

The space agency still needs to develop new lunar ships, all-terrain vehicles and spacesuits. US Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Florida) asked during a space subcommittee hearing why NASA took so long and so dear to "get back to where we were" during Apollo. The last Apollo mission to the moon was in 1972.

Doug Cook, a former NASA exploration manager who now runs his own consulting business, said engineers often want to incorporate new technologies and ideas, and so the program is "somewhat trapped." He prefers a simpler Apollo-like approach for returning astronauts to the Moon, requiring fewer launches and critical maneuvers than the Artemis program provides. Cook said NASA's proposed mini-outpost around the Moon, known as the Gateway, from which astronauts descend to the lunar surface, should be delayed until later missions.

Cook pointed out the apparent concern about flight control during the Apollo moon landing. “It's quite difficult,” he said.

As for whether private companies like SpaceX can beat NASA before the moon, Bowersox said, “I'd still bet on us - but they could be part of our agenda.

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