The budget of NASA for the fiscal year 2020 is still to be finalized. According to a NASA official, this may harm the agency’s schedules to send human missions back to the moon in 2024.
NASA’s director for human lunar expeditions, Marshall Smith, said on November 12 that they would continue the work of human landing mission proposals from their side. But the delay in the budget finalization is making it hard to estimate the bills and in accepting the contracts for the same expeditions.
He added that NASA is doing everything according to their plans. At some point in time, the contracts for the lunar landing have to be offered. But the constant delays in the budget decisions may force them to reschedule the plans when they get to the point of contract offers.
Smith added that NASA was starting to evaluate the proposals for human landing programs in the moon. They are expected to raise the fund for the production of landers, which will be suitable for humans. He was also optimistic that they would be able to give the contracts by January for the initial studies on the landers.
He refused to give the number of proposals NASA has got so far for the missions. But some big names, including Boeing and Blue Origin lead group, have confirmed their proposal submissions. The group lead by Blue Origin consists of Lockheed Martin, Draper, and Northrop Grumman.
White House submitted a budget proposal in May for NASA for the 2020 fiscal year. But the agency sought $ 1 billion in an amendment that followed the proposal. The acting director of the Office of Management and Budget of White House, Russell Vought, revealed that NASA wants $700 million for their research and development programs that also include lunar expeditions.
Despite the uncertainty, Marshall Smith said that NASA is doing everything to carry out its Artemis Program as per the schedule, which also includes human landing in the moon as a significant element.