- NASA’s newest spacesuits needed for a 2024 moon landing won’t be ready until 2025.
- Elon Musk offered the assistance of SpaceX “if need be.”
- Private companies entering the space race are helping to make exploration cheaper.
Amid NASA’s budgetary and technical issues for its newest spacesuits, Elon Musk has offered SpaceX’s assistance.
The billionaire said in a Tuesday Tweet that his company “could do it if need be,” CNBC first reported.
—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 10, 2021
Musk’s comments were in response to NASA’s inspector general finding that the spacesuits needed for a scheduled moon landing in 2024 won’t be ready in time. They’ll also be over budget.
But SpaceX hasn’t yet developed spacesuits designed for the vacuum of space, only for zero-gravity environments in a craft, where oxygen levels can also fluctuate.
SpaceX and a slew of other companies have surged into the space race in recent years, promising cheaper flights thanks to reusable rockets and other advancements, among other efficiencies. Musk has notably voiced displeasure with governmental bureaucracy and red tape.
So far, the influx of capital appears to be working in favor of NASA. After losing a bid in April for a Human Landing System (HLS) program, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin protested, calling it “unfair. He also offered to waive $2 billion in payments to get the program “back on track.”
SpaceX, meanwhile, saved NASA hundreds of millions of dollars by letting the agency use its Falcon Heavy rocket to launch a probe to one of Jupiter’s moons earlier this year, according to Quartz. The total cost of the mission was $178 million, about 75% less than the price a few years ago.
“Having that launch capability at that price point just saves so much, particularly for the science part of NASA that just does not have the mega-budgets that human spaceflight does,” Casey Dreier, a space policy analyst at the Planetary Society told Quartz. “To see other future missions by NASA able to leverage the lift capability of the Heavy at that price point opens up a significant amount of space access.”