NASA had to cancel its Artemis I Moon rocket mission for the third time, and its billion-dollar rocket is now off the launch pad and back in.
As the world watches the US space agency and the mission set to take us back to the moon, some pundits are worried Nasa will be outshined by SpaceX like Elon Musk.
Space industry observer Richard Speed has followed space launches throughout his career.
He told The US Sun: “To make matters worse, commercial companies like SpaceX have continued to launch, often within sight of the ailing SLS, and demonstrate reusability.
“On the other hand, NASA has spent billions turning reusable space shuttle components into expendable hardware that resolutely gets stuck on the launch pad.
“There is a very real risk that NASA could be ordered to pull out of the space launch business and focus on spacecraft.
“Finally, versus the SLS launch pad in the form of a Saturn V designed for viewing, there is a stark reminder of a willingness to sacrifice hardware.
“The same fate could await the Space Launch System should the funding flow be diverted elsewhere.”
Nasa has not confirmed a new date for Artemis I’s next launch attempt.
The US space agency is believed to try again later this year.
What is Artemis I?
The first part of the mission to bring humans back to the moon is called Artemis I and was scheduled to launch Monday, August 29 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
However, the first launch date had to be postponed due to a refueling error.
The second attempted launch encountered a similar problem and the third was scrapped before it could start due to Storm Ian.
When launched, the mission will include a 42-day trip around the moon and back.
However, Nasa could abort the mission if something goes wrong.
The flight will test hardware to enable Nasa to land the first woman and first black person on the moon by 2025.
This manned mission is referred to as Artemis III and much remains to be done before it can take place.
Artemis I is not a manned mission, but it must orbit the moon to test three key components.
These are Nasa’s Space Launch System (SLS), the Orion spacecraft and the European Service Module (ESM).
The Orion spacecraft and ESM should come within 62 miles of the lunar surface and then travel 40,000 miles beyond.
Once the rocket has orbited the dark side of the moon, it should land in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego.
Nasa completed a “wet dress rehearsal” of the SLS back in March and has changed the proposed launch date several times since.
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