NASA delays astronauts' return to the Moon by a year

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has postponed the implementation of the Artemis 2 and Artemis 3 lunar missions by a year.. Thus, the return of American astronauts to the Moon, where they have not been since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, is postponed. The corresponding message was published on the official website of the department.

Artemis 2 mission crew. Image source: NASA

The new schedule for lunar missions suggests that Artemis 2, which plans to conduct a manned flight around the Moon and then return to Earth, will be implemented in September 2025. The Artemis 3 mission, which will land astronauts near the South Pole of the Moon, is now scheduled for September 2026. Previously, these missions were planned for the current year and 2025, respectively.. The later Artemis 4 mission, which will carry out the first flight to the future lunar space station Gateway, is planned for 2028.

Ensuring the safety of crew on manned missions was cited as the main reason for changing flight schedules. Testing of the safety systems of the Orion spacecraft identified problems that will require additional time for aerospace engineers to resolve.. We are currently working on troubleshooting the battery and solving problems with the circuit component responsible for air ventilation and temperature control.

Along with the change in the flight schedule, NASA has revised the schedule for launching the first integrated elements of the Gateway station into space, the launch of which into orbit is now scheduled for October 2025. This is being done to provide developers with additional time and better alignment with the Artemis 4 mission. NASA has also asked developers of lunar landing systems, represented by SpaceX and Blue Origin, to begin developing variations of landing systems that could be used in the future to deliver large aircraft to the surface of the satellite. cargo.

“We have learned a lot since the Artemis 1 mission, and the success of these first missions depends on commercial and international partnerships aimed at expanding our capabilities and understanding of humanity's place in the solar system. The Artemis program represents what we can achieve as a nation—as a global coalition. When we set our sights on what is difficult, we can achieve great things,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.