NASA postponed delivery to the VIPER Moon for a year

NASA postponed delivery to the VIPER Moon for a year

The NASA agency, which was in the process of contracting Astrobotic to deliver the Volatiles Invastigating Polar Exploration Rover and other possible resources, decided to postpone the mission for one year.

While the arrival of the lunar rover was previously planned for Astrobotic in November 2023, NASA has now requested the Astrobotic and VIPER teams to postpone the mission until November 2024, and the mission plans to deliver the research module to the southern pole of the Moon.

NASA's decision is to require Astrobotic to conduct additional ground testing of the Griffin landing module, which will deliver VIPER to the lunar surface. Additional tests are designed to reduce the overall risks associated with the delivery of VIPER to the surface of the Earth satellite. An additional $67.8 million has been allocated to perform the tests, with a total contract value of $320.4 million.

According to the representative of NASA, the VIPER lunar is the largest and most technically complex cargo to be delivered under the CLPS programme, which, in turn, is a key part of the lunar exploration programme, Artemis. The delivery of scientific and technological goods will "lay the foundations" for further manned lunar missions.