NASA: Bezos Lawsuit Has Delayed Return to the Moon

Astronauts won't get there until 2025 at the earliest
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2021 4:07 PM CST
NASA's Moon Return Pushed Back a Year
This illustration provided by SpaceX shows the SpaceX Starship human lander design that will carry the first NASA astronauts to the surface of the Moon under the Artemis program.   (SpaceX/NASA via AP)

NASA says its return to the moon has been pushed back from 2024 until 2025 at the earliest—and a lawsuit from Jeff Bezos' space company is one of the main causes for the delay. "We've lost nearly seven months in litigation, and that likely has pushed the first human landing likely to no earlier than 2025," NASA administrator Bill Nelson told reporters Tuesday, per Ars Technica. NASA was banned from communicating with SpaceX about the Human Landing System while the lawsuit from Blue Origin was pending. A federal court ruled against the Bezos company last week.

The Trump administration set the 2024 goal in 2019, with Mike Pence saying plans to return to the moon by 2028 were "just not good enough." But a delay was widely expected before Tuesday's announcement due to issues including the pandemic and a funding shortfall as well as the Bezos lawsuit, the BBC reports. Nelson said he spoke with SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell Friday. "This is the first contact we've been able to have about the HLS program, and we both underscored the importance of returning to the Moon as quickly and safely as possible," he said.

NASA said in a press release Tuesday that it is focusing on Artemis I uncrewed and Artemis II crewed flight tests around the moon, which will precede the Artemis III mission to bring astronauts to the moon for the first time in more than 50 years. "The Artemis II mission includes sending astronauts aboard Orion farther into space than any humans have ever traveled before, roughly 40,000 miles past the moon, before returning home," the agency said.

(Read more NASA stories.)

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