How much will it cost Americans to return to the moon?

A new audit by NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has just estimated NASA’s spending on its Artemis program, which aims to establish a sustainable human presence on and around the Moon by the end of the century. The bill will be quite salty.

As you know, NASA and its main partners aim to permanently establish their place on the moon within the framework of a program called Artemis. The first part of this incredible project will send an unmanned space capsule around the moon next year. Humans returning to lunar soil since the last Apollo mission in 1972 should take place as early as 2025. It also plans to assemble a lunar station in orbit around our satellite.

While many technical challenges must be overcome to achieve these goals, another question arises: What is the cost?

at least 93 billion

NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently investigated the matter.According to a new audit, U.S. agencies’ spending on their Artemis program is expected to reach Total $93 billion by 2025.

By comparison, the United States spent $28 billion on the Apollo moon landing program between 1960 and 1973.this will represent About $280 billion today. One more thing to note: The current production cost of a single SLS/Orion system is now estimated at $4.1 billion per launch“, the report said.

Additionally, if steps are not taken to reduce these costs for future SLS/Orion missions, NASA will ” Sustaining its Artemis program in its current configuration faces significant challenges“, we can also read.

Recall that the development of Orion and SLS officially started ten years ago. So even though the Trump administration formally proposed the Artemis program in 2017, the $93 billion estimate includes more than a decade of spending.

The SLS rocket to bring humans back to the moon has been assembled.Credit: NASA

more testing will be required

The audit also highlighted the need to test the new spacesuit, the development of which has been significantly delayed. He also stressed the need to test the program’s Human Landing System (HLS).

Last April, NASA selected SpaceX to provide the landing system, which involved the company’s version of Starship. Originally, Starship’s first landing on lunar soil took place as part of the Artemis 3 mission, which called for humans to return to the site. Now, NASA needs to conduct a stuffed test flight that includes an uncrewed landing of Starship. So the goal will be to prove that the spacecraft can safely land on the moon and return to orbit.

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