A fast-track schedule, along with delays developing SpaceX's moon lander and new Report informs referring to CBS News., make the "unlikely" in 2025 and, based on past experience, a delay to 2027 could be expected, the Government Accountability Office said,
"NASA and its contractors have made progress, including completing several important milestones, but they still face multiple challenges with development of the human landing system and the spacesuits," the agency concluded.
"As a result, GAO found that the Artemis III crewed lunar landing is unlikely to occur in 2025."
NASA is attempting to develop its moon landing system more than a year faster than average for such major projects. "The complexity of human spaceflight suggests that it is unrealistic to expect the program to complete development more than a year faster than the average for NASA major projects," the report said.
"GAO found that if development took as long as the average for NASA major projects, the Artemis III mission would likely occur in early 2027."
While late 2025 remains the official Artemis III launch target, NASA already was re-assessing the flight schedule. Agency officials have raised the possibility of "repurposing" the Artemis III mission if it turns out a moon landing isn't feasible in the near-term timeframe.
But NASA has not yet announced any such changes.
The Artemis program aims to return astronauts to the moon for the first time since the Apollo program's last lunar landing in 1972. In so doing, the space agency would get there well ahead of China, which plans to land its "taikonauts" on the moon in the 2030 timeframe.