Citing China threat, NASA says moon landing now will come in 2025

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said Tuesday for the first time that the Trump-era goal of returning astronauts to the moon by 2024, a timeline initially embraced by the Biden administration, is no longer feasible and that a human landing would be pushed "likely to no earlier than 2025."

The landing with humans would come sometime in 2025, but NASA officials said the timing would depend on the success of the previous test flights as well as SpaceX's development of the Starship spacecraft that would meet up with Orion in lunar orbit and ferry the astronauts to the surface of the moon. Foto: AP/Ritzau Scanpix

He blamed a series of events for forcing the revision of the Artemis schedule, which many in the space industry had said was overly ambitious, given the difficulties of getting humans into deep space. Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic was a major driver of the delay, Nelson said in a call with reporters, as were unrealistic budgets under the Trump administration. The legal challenges filed by Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, which prevented NASA from working with SpaceX on the contract it had won to build the spacecraft that would ferry astronauts to and from the lunar surface, delayed work by seven months, he said.

But now that Blue Origin's latest challenge was struck down by a federal court, NASA is moving ahead with SpaceX to resume work as quickly as possible. (Bezos owns The Washington Post.)..

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