It should be remembered that the US space agency has already spent $40 billion on this project, which includes rockets called the “Space Launch System” (SLS) and the Orion capsule that astronauts will occupy. The agency has been the victim of accumulated delays (SLS, launched in 2011, was originally supposed to make its first launch before 2020) and its detractors have easily argued that it should have reverted to private enterprise: in past years, SpaceX (under Elon Musk) and Blue Origin (under Jeff Bezos). ) have produced their own rockets, although the “version” is not capable of going to the moon.
Whether a private company would have done better and faster is always speculative, but the failure of the Artemis 1 rocket would certainly have greatly affected NASA’s reputation. The rocket, which is unmanned, should go into lunar orbit, carrying three astronauts, Artemis 2, in 2024 and Artemis 3, whose occupants should land on the moon in 2025.
The first two launch attempts, on August 29 and September 3, were postponed each time due to hydrogen leaks in the fuel tank supply pipe—the second leak was larger than the first. Next try May take place September 27 or October 2.
Lori Carver, former NASA administrator (2009 to 2013); Commented on The New York Times On Sept. 3, hydrogen is inevitably going to be an ongoing problem because of the technology choices surrounding SLS.
Same Lori Carver announced Scientific American In the month of August: ” show [Artemis] Weak”. He is known as a critic of NASA’s policy of returning to the moon with the same type of rocket used for the Apollo missions 50 to 60 years ago. In addition, “the space agency’s most pressing missions include combating climate change, protecting Earth against asteroid threats and developing transformative technologies for the 21st century. But in addition, when the mission is to explore other worlds, the agency should spend at least some of its budget to “encourage innovation that improves the way humans get there.”
she repeated New Scientist In mid-September In his opinion, NASA is “going back to the moon for the wrong reasons”: “Since we went to the moon, we want to go back”, but acts as if the only purpose is to send an astronaut. For previous 12 wins. “Maybe that’s not the right way to do it. Another way around the problem is to cut costs. »
Under current circumstances, the costs of SLS make it unthinkable to continue the lunar program beyond Artemis 3, if only this rocket is to be relied upon. As the future lunar lander is already being developed, private enterprise can play a role by developing its own lunar rocket. But it takes political will, Lori Carver charges: “The reason we’re returning to the moon now is because the construction of SLS has created jobs for American workers, and elected members of Congress want to work in their districts. Keep them.”