NASA announces delay of its Artemis moon missions until 2025, 2026


(WASHINGTON) — NASA announced Tuesday it is delaying its first-crewed missions to the moon in decades, delaying a moon flyby until September 2025 and an attempted landing on the moon until September 2026.

“To safely carry out these missions, agency leaders are adjusting the schedules for Artemis II and Artemis III to allow teams to work through challenges associated with first-time developments, operations, and integration,” NASA sad in a release.

Artemis II was scheduled to send four astronauts into space in 2024 for a lunar flyby before returning to Earth while Artemis III was planning to send four astronauts to the moon in 2025.

In its release, NASA said that during an Artemis flight test, teams discovered battery issues and challenges with a component that controls air ventilation and temperature control.

Additionally, NASA has been investigating why char layer pieces from its spacecraft’s heat shield were lost during the Artemis I mission.

Artemis I, which launched in November 2022 and was completed in December, marked the first step in an ambitious plan to establish a long-term presence on the moon for scientific discovery and economic development, and potentially even send a crewed mission to Mars.

“We are letting the hardware talk to us so that crew safety drives our decision-making. We will use the Artemis II flight test, and each flight that follows, to reduce risk for future Moon missions,” Catherine Koerner, associate administrator, Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said in a statement.

“We are resolving challenges associated with first-time capabilities and operations, and we are closer than ever to establishing sustained exploration of Earth’s nearest neighbor under Artemis,” Koerner added.

The Artemis team will be made up of three Americans — Victor Glover, Christina Hammock Koch and Reid Wiseman — and one Canadian, Jeremy Hansen. Glover and Koch will be the first person of color and woman, respectively, to set foot on the lunar surface.

They are set to be first series of missions that NASA has used to send a crew to the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972, more than 50 years ago.

NASA said in is release that Artemis IV, the first mission to the Gateway lunar space station, remains on track for 2028.

“Artemis is a long-term exploration campaign to conduct science at the Moon with astronauts and prepare for future human missions to Mars,” Amit Kshatriya, deputy associate administrator of Exploration Systems Development, and manager of NASA’s Moon to Mars Program Office at headquarters, said in a statement.

“That means we must get it right as we develop and fly our foundational systems so that we can safely carry out these missions,” Kshatriya said. “Crew safety is and will remain our number one priority.”

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