Elon Musk offered SpaceX‘s resources to help NASA manufacture its next-generation spacesuits, following a report on Tuesday that said the space agency’s development program is behind schedule and will cost more than $1 billion USD to produce.
“SpaceX could do it if need be,” Musk wrote on Twitter.
Though SpaceX has made flight suits for astronauts who launch into orbit in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, Musk’s company has not yet developed spacesuits designed for the vacuum of space.
Musk proposed his offer in response to a report by NASA’s inspector general — the investigative office that examines the space agency for fraudulent behavior — on the development of Extravehicular Mobility Units, or spacesuits.
Since NASA started various spacesuit programs in 2007, the agency has spent $420.1 million USD on their development. The report said NASA “plans to invest approximately $625.2 million USD more” on the program, for a total cost of “over $1 billion USD” through 2025.
Aside from the high costs, the inspector general report said delays “attributable to funding shortfalls, COVID-19 impacts and technical challenges” mean that spacesuits will “not be ready for flight until April 2025 at the earliest.”
NASA’s spacesuits are necessary for its Artemis program, which consists of several missions to the moon’s orbit and surface, with the goal of landing on the moon by 2024. Though NASA still plans on meeting its 2024 goal, the inspector general has warned that delays might impact the agency’s ability to do so.
Elsewhere, a NASA-funded moon mission is taking off from New Zealand later this year.
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