2) Budgets are not up to par
When President John F. Kennedy made his famous call in May 1961 for Americans to land on the moon before the end of the decade, NASA’s budget had doubled, then doubled again the following year, then further increased, reaching, in 1965, about 4.5% of the total US government budget, or $ 42 billion today.
In its latest budget proposal, tabled in September, NASA estimated that it would cost $ 28 billion, between 2021 and 2025, to meet the 2024 deadline. Of which $ 16 billion just for the moon landing module (Human Landing System), for which three companies are currently hoping to be chosen.
However, we are far from it: in December, in the federal government’s budget adopted for the next year, $ 850 million was allocated to the development of the moon landing module.
Lunar Gateway station
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And that’s without counting the following missions: before the deadline was moved from 2028 to 2024, the return to the moon program mentioned several missions for the construction of a permanent habitat, and a station in orbit, Lunar Gateway, intended to serve as a crossroads for these comings and goings.
It is in this context of tight budgets that the Canadian announcement takes place: Canada undertakes to build the station’s “external robotic system”. Lunar Gateway – the equivalent of the “Canadarm” of the current space station – and, in exchange, gets a place for one of its astronauts.
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