Successful completion of NASA’s moon mission draws attention to SpaceX
While the mission was years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget, the flight provided some validation of the traditional government-run approach NASA has taken to developing complex space hardware.
“From my perspective, it certainly meets expectations, if not more,” said Jeff Bingham, a former Republican aide to the Senate subcommittee that shaped the legislation in 2010 ordering NASA to build the space launch system. “I feel good about the fact that what we wanted to come to fruition.”
Even Lori Garver, a former NASA assistant administrator who preferred to look to private companies to come up with more innovative rocket designs that could have been built faster and cheaper, acknowledged that the Artemis I flight did well. unfolded.
“It’s fantastic that it works,” she said. “It’s a huge relief and excitement at NASA.”
The space agency now appears to be in good shape to launch the next mission, Artemis II, as planned in 2024. This flight will send four astronauts to the Moon, without landing, and then to Earth.
The moon landing is scheduled for the third Artemis mission, in which the Space Launch System and Orion will carry four astronauts to a large looping orbit around the moon. This task will not require abilities beyond those demonstrated during Artemis I and Artemis II.
The manufacture of equipment for these missions is already well advanced. The Orion capsule for Artemis II is already largely built at the Kennedy Space Center. The Orion service module, built by Airbus as part of the European Space Agency’s contributions to lunar missions, was delivered last year. This weekend, the lower part of the rocket that will launch Artemis III arrived at Kennedy for installation.
But Artemis III will rely on a third essential piece: a lander built by SpaceX. And for this part of the mission, Mr. Musk’s company will have to achieve a series of technological marvels that have never been achieved before.