Elon Musk on reported NASA space suit delays: 'SpaceX could do it'

SpaceX founder Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskSpaceX sending first all-civilian crew into orbit Elon Musk's SpaceX vs. the environmentalists Biden seeks to build Democratic support among unions MORE on Tuesday said his company could help develop NASA’s new spacesuits after a watchdog report noted significant delays in design and testing that may prevent the agency from meeting its goal of returning astronauts to the moon by 2024. 

NASA’s Office of Inspector General said in its report that the schedule to develop two flight-ready spacesuits by November 2024 includes a roughly “20-month delay in delivery for the planned design, verification, and testing suit, two qualification suits, an ISS Demo suit, and two lunar flight suits.” 

The watchdog said the delays were due to “funding shortfalls, COVID-19 impacts, and technical challenges,” adding that the suits would not be flight ready until April 2025 at the earliest. 

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In response to CNBC reporter Michael Sheetz’s tweet on the findings, Musk wrote, “SpaceX could do it if need be.” 

The billionaire tech magnate also responded to a subsequent tweet from Sheetz noting that the watchdog report said that 27 different companies were supplying components for NASA’s “next-generation spacesuits.” 

“Seems like too many cooks in the kitchen,” Musk tweeted. 

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Musk, along with fellow billionaires Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosSpaceX launches first all-civilian orbit crew into space Tucker Carlson says he lies when 'I'm really cornered or something' Feehery: Not this way MORE and Richard Branson, are engaged in a race to test and manufacture rockets capable of sending Americans on commercial space flights. 

While both Bezos and Branson last month successfully completed crewed test flights into space, Musk has aimed to reach the goal of launching SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft into orbit. 

SpaceX has developed space flight suits for astronauts to wear while inside the rocket, though a spacesuit for astronauts on the moon would have additional requirements to protect individuals in the harsh conditions of space. 

According to the Tuesday report, the development of NASA's new spacesuits will result in a total of $1 billion in costs through 2025. 

The report recommended that NASA's Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate take several actions to ramp up the development of its new spacesuits, including “adjusting the schedule as appropriate to reduce development risks.”

The inspector general also said that the administrator should develop an integrated master schedule to take into account the other programs that will likely be impacted by a delay in the spacesuits’ development and ensure that the new spacesuits meet all the technical requirements and needs of NASA’s upcoming space missions.