NASA Delays a Year First Crewed U.S. Moon Landing
NASA announced on a press briefing that the Artemis II and Artemis III moon missions, which were initially scheduled to take place in 2024 and 2025, respectively, will now be rescheduled for September 2025 and September 2026
As part of the Artemis II mission, NASA astronauts are scheduled to be placed in lunar orbit. On the other hand, the Artemis III mission is designed to land people on the moon, where they would become the first humans to reach the lunar south pole. The U.S. concentrated on the South Pole following the Chinese space programme’s successful landing on the pole in 2019.
The Artemis programme is a descendant of the Apollo missions, which concluded several decades earlier. On the other hand, in contrast to Apollo, it signifies a change towards utilising private sector businesses, like SpaceX and Blue Origin, to procure essential vehicle components.
Even though there have been rumours that the Artemis lunar landing could be moved to Artemis IV, which NASA has confirmed is still on track to take place in 2028, the space agency has stated that there will be no modifications made to the flight plan of either mission nor will any additional flights be added. Despite this, both Artemis II and III will begin their flights later than initially intended due to various safety-related reasons.
Several problems were uncovered during Artemis I, which was the spacecraft that took the reusable Orion capsule around the moon in 2022. According to NASA, these problems are causing delays to Artemis II. These concerns revolve around the spaceship’s heat shield, abort capabilities, and electrical systems, and they can endanger the people inside.
According to NASA Deputy Associate Administrator of the Moon to Mars program Amit Kshatriya, heat shield erosion during the Artemis I mission caused sections of the thermal cover to fly off. This was a result that NASA did not anticipate that would occur. While rewatching the watershed flight, the agency stated that it uncovered the problem and has spent “the bulk of 2023” seeking to determine the underlying source of the problem.
Artemis will merely be the beginning of a new era of spaceflight for the United States of America, according to the administrator of NASA. On top of that, the CIA is working on its Moon to Mars programme, which, according to Nelson, will require the participation of foreign partners to land an American successfully. According to him, the first step towards undertaking future expeditions to the red planet will be to arrive at the moon.