WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA said he remains unconvinced of the need to accelerate NASA’s plans to return humans to the moon because of its uncertain cost.
At a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee’s commerce, justice and science subcommittee, Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.), chairman of the subcommittee, expressed frustration at the lack of information from NASA on the overall costs of its Artemis program that now seeks to land humans on the moon by 2024, four years earlier than the timeline in the agency’s original fiscal year 2020 budget request.
In May, the White House submitted a budget amendment that sought an additional $1.6 billion as a “down payment” for the new 2024 goal, but NASA has declined to give an estimate of the overall cost of Artemis through 2024. Serrano noted that his committee had “repeatedly asked” for cost estimates, but has yet to receive a response.
“It’s hard to justify any extra spending on this effort in the current fiscal year when we don’t know the costs down the road,” he said. In his opening statement, he concluded it would be best to NASA to stick to the earlier 2028 ...