A new NASA report reveals that the space agency’s Space Launch System, the rocket expected to bring astronauts to the Moon in 2024, is years behind schedule and two billion dollars over budget — hardships that highlight the success of SpaceX, which now regularly delivers space station cargo for NASA, and plans to launch humans to space as soon as this May.
The 2024 landing is still possible: some expected delays were built into the timeline for the Artemis mission program, so there’s still time to finish the rocket.
But TechCrunch reports that that may change, should NASA continue to face additional delays. In fact, the report suggests things are at the point that even pushing back a few more months could jeopardize the landing.
The Wednesday report, released by NASA’s Inspector General, revealed that the development of the rocket is looking grim — problems have plagued it across the board.
“NASA’s continued struggle with managing SLS Program costs and schedule has the potential to impact the Agency’s ambitious goals for the Artemis program,” the report says.
Slow And Steady
There’s no indication, however, that the mission will be cancelled. Per TechCrunch, NASA still hopes to continue along the planned timeline.
But NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine called the 2024 landing an arbitrary goal — and that NASA won’t rush the job for the sake of meeting it.
READ MORE: NASA’s SLS Moon rocket is 2 years behind and billions over budget, internal report finds [TechCrunch]
More on the Artemis mission: NASA Is Considering Cutting Other Programs to Pay for Moon Mission