Recently we mentioned that the proposed budget for NASA for fiscal 2022 totals $24.8 billion. As massive as that number is, many wondered if it was enough money to keep NASA’s missions to the moon on track. On Friday, NASA administrator Bill Nelson said that the $24.8 billion budget proposal would keep the space agency on track to put the first woman and the next man on the moon as early as 2024. However, Nelson did have a warning.
Nelson says the target date is far from certain, noting that “space is hard.” Nelson says that NASA has learned from various space systems in the past that there are typically delays. The further you travel from the Earth using new technologies, delays will occur. He notes that there is no guarantee the mission will be delayed, and only time will tell.
Nelson says that 2024 is the goal, but if we are brutally realistic, history tells us that because developing space systems is so hard, there could be delays to that schedule. The $24.8 billion budget does represent a 6.6 percent increase compared to fiscal 2021. It includes $6.88 billion tapped explicitly for the Artemis moon program and $4 billion for space operations covering ISS along with commercial crew and cargo missions to the space station.
The rocket system that will be used for the Artemis missions is the Space Launch System and it’s a super heavy-lift rocket. That program is earmarked for $4.48 billion of the proposed fiscal budget. That money will also cover an upgrade to the Orion crew capsule used to take astronauts to the moon. With Russia having announced that it plans to pull out of the ISS program, NASA’s increased budget will help keep the space station operating in the near future.