mars 26, 2023


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Jeff Bezos may spoil NASA’s 2024 moon landing — if the spacesuit is delayed, don’t do it first | science and technology news

A lawsuit from Jeff Bezos could end in failure of a NASA mission to return to the moon by 2024, although it’s not the only obstacle that puts that date in jeopardy.

in deposit A lawsuit against the United States government To award the contract worth $2.9 billion to the company Elon Musk company SpaceX instead of blue originAnd Jeff Bezos could delay the entire program.

SpaceX previously successfully completed several orbital missions, while Blue Origin did not complete a single mission.

Bill Nelson, NASA The director general, confirmed last week that the target remained in 2024, but complained that Blue Origin’s protest against the award of the initial contract had stymied the mission’s progress for 100 days while it was considered and eventually canceled.

“There are a lot of blockades ahead of us,” cautioned Mr. Nelson, explaining that even if Blue Origin’s new appeal to the Federal Claims Court is denied, Bezos can then escalate matters to the United States. State Court of Appeals.

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Why do billionaires go to space?

space agency Artemis programNamed after the mythical sister of Apollo, the first lunar mission of the same name aims to bring the first woman and the next man to the lunar surface by 2024 – although that date is now in doubt.

Although the first appeal was rejected, the founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos I continued to seek other avenues of participation – introduced in the beginning Giving up billions of dollars in payments of NASA in the event that the contract with SpaceX is withdrawn and awarded to Blue Origin – and now in the space agency’s trial.

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Waiving mission costs was a calculated move, as potential funding shortfalls already threaten to derail the Human Landing System (HLS) portion of the Artemis program.

Jeff Bezos wears eyeglasses belonging to pilot Amelia Mary Earhart during a post-launch news briefing.  Pic: AP
Jeff Bezos wants to participate in the next NASA mission to the moon. Pic: AP

NASA’s inspector general also warned that the agency also « faces significant challenges » in producing two spacesuits that are ready to fly by November 2024.

Research and development for these suits, known as xEMUs (Expeditionary Vehicle Mobility Units), will cost more than $1 billion by the time NASA actually returns to the Moon.

« Given these expected delays in spacesuit development, a late 2024 lunar landing as NASA currently plans is not possible. The suits will not be ready to fly until April 2025 at the earliest, » the inspector general cautioned.