Science and Technology Daily, Beijing, August 24 (Reporter Liu Xia) The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had planned to return astronauts to the moon by 2024, but NASA’s Office of the Inspector General said in an audit report recently released that funding was short of funds. The impact of the new crown pneumonia epidemic and technical challenges have caused delays in the development of spacesuits. It is not feasible for American astronauts to return to the moon in 2024.

  NASA’s Office of the Inspector General initiated an audit in August 2020 to examine the development of NASA’s next-generation space suits required by the International Space Station and the Artemis program.

Inspector General Paul Martin stated in an audit report released recently that NASA’s goal of returning American astronauts to the moon by 2024 will not be feasible. “These spacesuits will not be available for flight until April 2025 at the earliest.”

  At present, American astronauts are still using the extravehicular activity suit designed for the space shuttle program 45 years ago.

For the past 14 years, NASA has been developing new space suits.

Five years ago, NASA launched the Exploring Extravehicular Activity Suit (xEMU) project.

Before this historic mission to the moon, NASA needs two xEMUs that can be used for flight, as well as a test suit and a demonstration suit for the International Space Station.

To develop the space suit, the United States has so far spent 420 million U.S. dollars.

It is estimated that by the time the two flight suits are ready in fiscal year 2025, the agency will spend another $625 million.

According to the report, the research and development of the new spacesuit is essential to "return human beings to the moon, continue safe operations on the International Space Station, and explore Mars."

  In April of this year, the US Space Exploration Technology Corporation (SpaceX) won a $2.9 billion contract from NASA to develop a lunar lander for the Artemis program.

However, competitors such as Blue Origin Company protested, and the time for the award of the contract was postponed.

Martin said that the above factors, coupled with the delays of NASA's space launch system rocket and Orion spacecraft, have also prevented NASA from achieving its goal of landing on the moon in 2024.