The largest committee in the US Senate wants NASA to choose a second company to build a new lunar module.
In April of this year, NASA announced: Only SpaceX won the contract Build the agency’s next lunar lander for the Artemis program, which aims to bring humans back to the moon by 2024 and create a sustainable human presence on nearby satellites. This was surprising as many expected agencies to choose two of the three competing companies to stay competitive and build backups.
After numerous legal interactions following NASA’s initial decision, the Senate Expenditure Committee instructed NASA to select a second company to develop a crew lunar module. I am. According to SpaceNews.. However, this direction was brought about by a small increase in funding.
NASA’s initial decision to allow this contract to build and develop a lunar module, or Human Landing System (HLS), was SpaceX I met a stubborn protest from two other companies running at the time: Blue origin And dynetics. In fact, they have filed a formal protest against the decision to have the agency rethink and add a second company. Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos wrote an open letter requesting a contract with NASA administrator Bill Nelson, offering to cover costs of up to $ 2 billion. This did not work, and the company continued to file a federal proceeding against NASA for their decision, which was a legal choice to temporarily suspend HLS development.
But in the end, Blue Origin seems to be able to fulfill that wish. Tuesday (October 18) Senate Expenditure Commission — The Largest US Senate Commission Overseeing All Senate Discretionary Spending Laws — Draft report released Of nine budget proposals for fiscal year 2022, including funding for NASA, according to SpaceNews.
In the report, the assigner states that NASA’s HLS program is not underfunded, despite NASA’s previous objections. As shown in the report, the bill includes NASA’s $ 24.83 billion. This is slightly above NASA’s $ 24.8 billion requirement, and HLS funding has increased by $ 100 million.
“NASA’s rhetoric blaming Congress and the Commission for the lack of resources needed to support the two HLS teams is hollow,” the report said.The committee is from NASA gateway, The planned lunar space station.
In discussing the slight increase in HLS funding, the report said, “Using this funding, NASA includes redundancy, including strong support for research, development, testing, and evaluation of two or more HLS teams. It is expected to secure competition with “”.
The report directs NASA to submit a plan to Congress showing how to deploy a second HLS team and support them through the Artemis program. This means that NASA’s plans, which NASA must submit to Congress within 30 days of the enactment of the bill, should include budget forecasts for the next few years to 2026, according to SpaceNews. To do.
NASA needs to understand how to scale this small budget increase for two HLS contracts, but admin Nelson has previously Stated his confidence NASA’s ability to secure Congressional funding needed to support the second lunar module contract. He also shared his optimism For the entire future of the agency, despite the budgetary challenges and difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate tells NASA to choose another company to build a lunar module: Report
https://www.space.com/senate-nasa-second-lunar-lander-contract Senate tells NASA to choose another company to build a lunar module: Report