NASA is on track to launch a crewed mission around the moon in November next year after a successful unmanned test flight, the US space agency said on Tuesday.
NASA officials provided an update on the Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the moon for the first time since the historic Apollo missions ended in 1972.
The first Artemis mission ended in December with an uncrewed Orion capsule returning safely to Earth after more than 25 days of travel around the moon.
Artemis 2, due in late November 2024, will take a four-person crew around the moon but without landing on it.
“We’re looking forward to that crew flying on Artemis 2,” NASA Associate Administrator Jim Free told reporters. “Based on what we learned on Artemis 1, there’s nothing holding us back right now.”
NASA will reveal the Artemis 2 crew members later this year. From what is known so far, one of them will be Canadian.
Artemis 3, scheduled for about 12 months after Artemis 2, will land astronauts on the Moon’s south pole for the first time.
“Our plan has always been 12 months, but there are significant developments that need to happen,” Free warned.
“We’re still stuck with that 12 months, but we’re always looking at the development of all the hardware that needs to come together for that.”
There is a lunar lander built by SpaceX and Spacesuit, Free said.
NASA hopes to establish a long-lasting human presence on the Moon and later launch a year-long trip to Mars.
As part of the Artemis mission, NASA plans to send a woman and a person of color to the Moon for the first time.
Only 12 people – all of them white men – have set foot on the moon.
During trips around and back to Earth-orbiting satellites, Orion logged more than a million miles and traveled farther from Earth than any previous habitable spacecraft.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and appeared on a syndicated feed.)
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