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NASA Postpones Artemis Lunar Missions to Address Safety Issues

Capsule problems

NASA Postpones Artemis Lunar Missions to Address Safety Issues

NASA has postponed the Artemis 2 and 3 lunar missions to resolve technical problems that could pose safety risks to their crews. 

According to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, Artemis 2 and its four astronauts’ orbital moon mission had been reset from its end-2024 schedule to no earlier than September 2025. Nelson also said that the targeted late 2025 launch of Artemis 3 for the first crewed moon landing since 1972 was rescheduled to September 2026 at the earliest, SpaceNews reported Tuesday.

The delays will give more time to the Artemis teams to work on “the challenges with first-time developments, operations and integration,” Nelson told the media in a teleconference. 

One reason for the Artemis 2 delay is erosion in the Orion capsule’s heat shield, which occurred during Artemis 1’s reentry in December 2021, Amit Kshatriya, the NASA Moon to Mars Program’s deputy associate administrator, said. Failures were also observed in the valve electronic circuitry of the hardware components delivered for the capsule’s life support system in the Artemis 3 mission, Kshatriya added.

NASA will replace the electronics, including the circuitry on the Artemis 2 Orion capsule, a step that will need additional testing. 

The delays will also give SpaceX more time to develop the lunar spacesuits of Artemis 3 astronauts under the company’s human landing system contract with NASA, SpaceNews noted.

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Category: Space

Tags: Amit Kshatriya Artemis missions Bill Nelson NASA space space exploration Space News SpaceX