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NASA announced Tuesday that the 2024 date set by Donald Trump for the return of humans to the Moon will be pushed back to 2025 “at the earliest”. Relative delays were expected for this mission which is to take the first woman to lunar land.
NASA announced Tuesday that the return of humans to the Moon as part of the US Artemis program has been delayed from 2024 to 2025 “at the earliest.” The date 2024 was set by Donald Trump’s administration, but was widely believed to be nearly impossible to meet. So this delay was relatively expected, but this is the first time NASA has officially recognized it.
The US space agency was specifically awaiting resolution of a legal dispute related to the development of a future lander before announcing a new schedule. “We’ve wasted nearly seven months in litigation, and possibly pushed back the first human landing until 2025,” NASA boss Bill Nelson said in a press conference.
But “there are other reasons too,” he said. He said the 2024 date set by the previous administration was not “technically feasible”. He also criticized the lack of funds allocated by Congress for the development of Moon landing gear in recent years.
Artemis 2 in May 2024
The name of this mission, which took the first woman to the moon, is Artemis 3. Bill Nelson also announced that the Artemis 2 mission, which would be the first in the program with astronauts but which would not land on the Moon, now had a “probable takeoff date of May 2024”.
This second mission, previously announced for 2023, “will go further than any human. Perhaps about 65,000 km from the Moon and then back to Earth,” said Boss. from NASA.
Artemis 1, the first test mission to the Moon that will not include an astronaut on board, is still scheduled for February 2022, as recently announced.
“Progress” for SpaceX’s Moon Lander
All of these missions will use NASA’s new giant rocket, called the SLS, which will carry the Orion capsule to the Moon. It is currently fully assembled at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, awaiting take-off.
The cost of developing the capsule, in which the astronauts will be located, has been increased from $6.7 billion to $9.3 billion by Artemis 2, Bill Nelson said Tuesday. But then the astronauts would have to transfer to a moon lander to land and leave on the moon.
SpaceX has been entrusted with the construction of this lander. Named Starship, it is currently under development in Texas – where NASA’s boss has promised to travel.
Work between NASA and SpaceX on this Moon lander had to be interrupted because Blue Origin, which was also in the running for the award of this major contract, filed a complaint against the space agency’s choice, arguing that the selection process was done improperly. The complaint was dismissed by a federal court last week.
SpaceX must successfully land on the Moon without an astronaut, a demonstration that is part of NASA’s requirements for this contract.
permanent presence on the moon
The Artemis program, which is also the first person of color to take to the Moon, echoes NASA’s Apollo program in the 1960s, but aims to establish a permanent presence on the Moon and prepare for trips to Mars.
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