14 April 2017, USA:
NASA will probably delay the first two missions of its Orion deep-space capsule, being developed to send astronauts beyond earth’s orbit and eventually to Mars, the US space agency said. Technical, as well as budget challenges, were cited as the reason behind the delay by the report of NASA’s Office of Inspector General.
“NASA’s initial exploration missions on its Journey to Mars — EM-1 and EM-2 — face multiple cost and technical challenges that likely will affect their planned launch dates,” the report said of the conclusions from a nine-month audit.
It cites delays in the development of the Orion service module, provided by the European Space Agency (ESA), as well as technical risks from changes in the design of the capsule’s heat shield.
“We are concerned NASA will not be able to resolve all necessary software validation and verification efforts in time to meet a November 2018 launch date for EM-1,” the report said.
To achieve its goal of sending humans to the vicinity of Mars in the 2030s, NASA must carry out “significant development work on key systems such as a deep space habitat, in-space transportation, and Mars landing and ascent vehicles” in the 2020s, the report added.
“The Agency will need to make these and many other decisions in the next 5 years or so for that to happen.” (Source- Space News, Image- NASA)