SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said that he may be able to launch the new Starship to the moon for NASA “probably sooner” than the targeted 2024 despite a delay in contract and other fronts. NASA selected SpaceX’s Starship as the lander of choice for the Artemis human landing system (HLS) in April this year but two situations have held up the contract since the decision was made. The first issue was the protests by competitors Blue Origin and Dynetics. The competitors expressed concern over NASA’s decision to pick one provider instead of two and they cited “lesser budgetary funds available for HLS as a probable cause”.
Once the Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirmed NASA’s choice of picking SpaceX in a detailed decision published earlier this month, according to reports, Blue Origin filed a lawsuit against them. This has lead to work on the HLS getting paused till November at least. NASA administrator told SpaceNews on Monday that he is anticipating “further delay” in the agency’s plans for Artemis. Artemis, since 2019, has targeted 2024 for the moon landing.
Musk is known for his optimistic timelines and made the comment about launching before 2024 on Twitter in response to a question asked by the Everything Artemis’ unofficial Twitter account. Everything Artemis tagged Musk in the tweet and asked “…Do you expect to have Lunar Starship ready to land humans in 2024 (despite other delays)?”. Musk replied with – “Probably sooner”.