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NASA to postpone the Artemis Lunar Landers Decision

In its attempt to build human lunar landers which are meant ffor the Artemis program, NASA is postponing a decision about which companies can proceed while it grapples with a financing deficit and a shift in administration. NASA stated in a January 27 notification to the three groups involved in the Human Landing System (HLS) initiative that their contracts would carry out two-month with no-cost extensions, which were expected to conclude on February 28. The Verge first published news of the increase. The no-cost extensions permit the contracts granted to Blue Origin, Dynetics as well as SpaceX last April to continue through April 30, and don’t include any extra funding to the firms.

The extension would allow NASA more time to decide which companies will earn “Option A” lander production awards, if any. “The scheduling of this extension is intended to enable NASA to conclude the assessment, recruitment and awarding process for Option A and to retain the capacity to switch seamlessly from base-term contracts to Option A agreements,” the agency explained in a message available on the site of HLS. One industry insider, talking in the background, stated that because of confusion about how NASA would continue with the HLS project, the extension was planned.

Though NASA stated it would be able to award Option A prior to April 30, the person mentioned it would not be shocking to see more program delays. The key explanation behind this confusion is that the level of money available to HLS is much smaller than what was requested by the agency. NASA’s financial year 2021 budget request targeted $3.3 billion for the project, but $850 million was given by the last omnibus appropriations bill passed in December.

Ever since, NASA has revealed nothing about the program’s future, partially for its ongoing analysis of Option A applications made by the HLS firms. “At a January 14 meeting of two senior NASA Advisory Council committees, Kathy Lueders, Associate Administrator in charge of Human Exploration and Operations, said, “Our staff is off and then we will make a decision about which programs we will engage in their lunar landing demos. For that first arrival, she said, NASA was already “trying to shoot for the 2024 period.”

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