(WASHINGTON) NASA announced Tuesday that the Artemis 2 space mission, which will take a crew of astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, is scheduled for November 2024.
This schedule was made possible by the success of the Artemis 1 mission, which ended in December after just over 25 days in space. The Orion spacecraft, which had no one on board for this first test flight, was powered by the new SLS rocket – the most powerful in the world – and successfully orbited the Moon, before returning to Earth.
Detailed analysis of this mission is ongoing, Jim Frye, Associate Administrator at NASA, told a news conference. But the first comments should allow the second Artemis mission to launch by “the end of November 2024,” he said. Or in more than a year and a half.
This year NASA should announce the lucky four who will make up the Artemis 2 crew. We just know that a Canadian will be a part of it. They will orbit the moon — without landing there — during a 10-day mission.
Next will come Artemis 3, which should land astronauts on the moon. It is still officially scheduled for 2025, although this calendar cannot be uncertain.
“We’ve always planned for about 12 months” between Artemis 2 and 3, Jim Free reiterated on Tuesday. But he immediately indicated that the third mission would be on hold pending completion of several much-needed items, which are currently in development.
“We need a lander,” Frye said, “and we will need our ‘spacesuits’ to explore the surface of the moon.”
The probe will be a copy of the SpaceX spacecraft, but its first orbital flight has yet to begin. Spacesuits are developed by Axiom Space Corporation.
The Artemis program aimed to send the first woman and first person of color to the moon, when the Apollo program took 12 men there, all white.
Artemis, in Greek mythology, is the twin sister of Apollo (Apollo in English) and a goddess associated with the moon.
NASA’s goal is to establish a permanent presence on the moon, by building a base on its surface and a space station in orbit around it.
Learning to live on the Moon should enable testing of all the technologies needed for a journey of greater complexity: a crewed round-trip to Mars.
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