NASA has postponed the launch of the robotic part for its Asteroid Redirect Mission to December 2021 instead of 2020 to allocate time for the mission’s concept studies, Space News reported Thursday.
Jeff Foust writes the move will also push back a planned 2025 crewed mission to 2026 but will not affect the mission cost.
Michele Gates, program director for ARM at NASA, said at a NASA advisory council meeting the delay “is intended to enable the early design study work for the spacecraft bus,” the report said.
The postponement will extend work on phases A and B under the robotic mission.
Foust reports NASA originally scheduled the launch of the robotic arm for 2017 to engage the asteroid for the redirect mission around 2021 for an astronaut visit during Exploration Mission 2.