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Science and TechnologyAstronomyNASA delays manned Moon flights to address safety and development challenges

NASA delays manned Moon flights to address safety and development challenges

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Washington DC, USA: NASA has revised the timeline for its manned lunar missions, announcing a delay in the Artemis 2 orbital mission to September 2025 and the Artemis 3 crewed lunar landing to September 2026. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson emphasized safety as the primary concern, necessitating additional time to resolve development, manufacturing, and integration issues within the Artemis program.

During a press conference, Nelson stated, “We are returning to the Moon in a way we never have before, and the safety of our astronauts is NASA’s top priority as we prepare for future Artemis missions,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.” According to the new schedule, Artemis 2, the first manned lunar flight, is planned for September 2025, followed by a crew landing on the Moon in September 2026.

Artemis 4, which will contribute to the construction of a lunar orbiting station, is scheduled for September 2028, Nelson added.

Previously, Artemis 2 was slated for 2024, with a crew landing in 2025. However, numerous delays, as highlighted by experts and US oversight agencies, rendered these timelines unfeasible.

Nelson has consistently stressed that NASA will not send humans to the Moon until it is fully confident in the mission’s safety, acknowledging the likelihood of postponing flight schedules.

The first flight under NASA’s Artemis lunar program, Artemis 1, occurred in November 2022. It marked the inaugural integrated flight of the SLS rocket and the Orion spacecraft, developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency.

The announcement of the manned mission delays comes amid the failure of the Peregrine lunar lander mission. Launched on the new Vulcan rocket, Peregrine was intended to land on the Moon by the end of February. However, eight hours post-launch, issues with the lander’s engine were reported. Astrobotic, the company that developed Peregrine under a NASA contract, stated that while the probe continues its journey, the chances of a successful lunar landing are now slim.

This development in NASA’s Artemis program reflects a cautious approach, prioritizing safety and thorough preparation in the ambitious endeavor to return humans to the Moon and establish a sustainable presence there.


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