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NASA missions threatened due to lack of astronaut – RT World News

The US space agency has been warned that the size of its astronaut corps may be too small to meet its future needs

NASA has enough astronauts to meet the "current needs" for International Space Station missions, but may soon discover that it lacks a "sufficient number of additional astronauts" for future projects.

According to NASA's Office of Inspector General report, the astronaut corps is expected to fall below its target size or "minimum requirements for manifest"In 2022 and 2023 due to astronauts' retirement and"additional spaceflight manifest need."Currently 44 astronauts strong, the corps is called"one of the smallest cadres of astronauts in the last 20 years”And this is while NASA is preparing for its Artemis lunar exploration missions.

The analysis, carried out by the audit office, shows that the number of astronauts in the financial year 2022 would "exactly the same as the number of aircraft manifest seats"NASA needs.

As a result, the Agency may not have a sufficient number of additional astronauts available for unexpected attrition and crew replacement or ground roles, such as engaging in program development, manning Astronaut Office manager and liaison positions, and acting as spokespersons for the Agency.", warns the report.

With a planned increase in the number of space flights within the framework of Artemis missions, the shortage of staff at NASA could result in "disruptive crew reorganizations or mission delayssaid the auditors.

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Potential staff shortages have already prompted the space agency to select ten new astronaut recruits for future missions. Their two-year training course started in January.

However, the lack of astronauts was not the only problem that the auditors highlighted. NASA may also face a lack of skills. The report states that "the composition of corps skill sets may need to be expanded to ensure sufficient capacity to carry out Artemis missions,"notice that"the astronaut's proficiency data is not consistently collected, extensively organized or regularly monitored or updated.

Therefore, the Inspector General's Office has made four recommendations on how to "better support dimensioning and alignment of the astronaut corps and help inform the recruitment and training of astronauts to meet NASA's strategic goals.

The recommendations include improvements in monitoring detailed astronaut data, planning training processes, and developing specific training adapt to the missionary needs of Artemis. "

NASA's management has accepted all the recommendations.

Recent years have seen the revival of the lunar exploration race. NASA is preparing for the maiden launch of its lunar rocket in March - the Space Launch System with an unmanned Orion capsule - and aims to resume human landings in 2024 and 2025.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos' Luna 25 lander, formerly known as Luna-Glob, is scheduled to be launched from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in July 2022 on a Soyuz 2.1b rocket with a Frigate upper stage. China has successfully launched a number of lunar missions in recent years, while India plans to launch the Chandrayaan-3 lander mission this year.

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