Significant delays in the development of spacesuits ruined NASA’s goal of returning American astronauts to the moon by 2024. NASA Inspector General Paul K. Martin said in a report that the “suits would not be ready for flight until April 2025 at the earliest” and are “years from completion.” NASA has spent over one billion dollars on the next generation of spacesuits.
The report explains that delays in funding, COVID-19 impacts, and technical challenges are the reason for the delay in spacesuit development. As of right now, there are a total of 27 different companies supplying the range of components needed for the suit. Elon Musk of SpaceX said on Twitter that the reports lead to the idea that there are “like too many cooks in the kitchen,… SpaceX could do it if need be.”
SpaceX was awarded the US$2.9 billion contract from NASA in April to make a lander for the Artemis program. The contract was delayed though because SpaceX’s two competitors, Blue Origin and Dynetics protested the contract. The inspector general said the protesting and NASA’s delay in the Space Launch System and Orion Capsule lead to their inability to reach the 2024 goal. The issues combined have resulted in an approximately 20-month delay to the flight suit schedule, according to the report.
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