NASA's New Moon Program Is Running On Empty

Final FY 2021 NASA Funding Provides Only 25% of HLS Request, Space Policy Online

"Congress finalized FY2021 appropriations today. Overall, NASA will receive $23.271 billion, almost $2 billion less than requested. Importantly for the Trump Administration's Artemis program to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024, it provides only $850 million instead of $3.4 billion for Human Landing Systems."

Artemis I Orion Progress Update, NASA

"During their troubleshooting, engineers evaluated the option to "use as is" with the high-degree of available redundancy or remove and replace the box. They determined that due to the limited accessibility to this particular box, the degree of intrusiveness to the overall spacecraft systems, and other factors, the risk of collateral damage outweighed the risk associated with the loss of one leg of redundancy in a highly redundant system."

SLS Team Completes Propellant Loading of Core Stage During Green Run Test, NASA

"Part of the test was to simulate the countdown with the tanks loaded, leading up to 33 seconds prior to the engines firing. However, the test ended a few minutes short of the planned countdown duration.The core stage and the B-2 test stand are in excellent condition, and it does not appear to be an issue with the hardware. The team is evaluating data to pinpoint the exact cause of the early shutdown. Then they will decide if they are ready to move forward with the final test, a hot fire when all four engines will be fired simultaneously."

Space Launch System Exploration Upper Stage Passes Critical Design Review

"To accomplish NASA's Artemis I lunar mission, the Block 1 variant of SLS will use a Boeing/United Launch Alliance Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage with one RL-10 engine to take an uncrewed Orion spacecraft on a test flight to the moon. SLS Block 1 rockets will be used for two subsequent crewed flights, including the first human mission to lunar orbit since the Apollo program."

Keith's note: Where to begin? There is nowhere near enough money to keep the Artemis program focused on a 2024 landing - or any landing. NASA is flying Orion on Artemis I with broken hardware because the spacecraft was designed poorly so as to make routine replacements hard to do. The SLS Green Run should be running a bit more smoothly given how many years NASA has had to prepare for it and the last test before firing shut down early? As for the Boeing CDR release: What about human lunar landings on SLS Block I - isn't that what Artemis III is supposed to do? It is nice that the CDR is complete but there is no approved funding to actually build and fly the EUS. Yet Boeing writes these releases to downplay the Block 1 capabilities as if the EUS/Block 1B is a done deal. It is not.

Not enough funding, flying broken hardware on Orion, a flawed booster test, and faith-based planning for an upper stage that is not even funded. Such is the current status of NASA's new Moon program.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on December 21, 2020 5:41 PM.

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