1st woman to moon
The inaugural crewed Artemis mission by NASA will be a historic flight to send the first woman to the moon.
NASA announced on Tuesday that the scheduled voyage around the moon and back has been postponed by almost a year, from late 2024 to at least September 2025. Additionally, the first planned astronaut moon landing is now expected to occur in September 2026 instead of late 2025.
“As we remind everybody at every turn, safety is our top priority,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told reporters during an afternoon teleconference. “To give Artemis teams more time to work through the challenges with first-time developments and integration, we’re going to give (them) more time on Artemis 2 and 3.
“We have updated our timeline to aim for Artemis 2 in September of 2025 and Artemis 3 in September of 2026. These missions will mark the first time humans will venture to the moon.”
Artemis 4 is still scheduled for September 2028, and even though there are obstacles to overcome, our teams are making impressive strides.
had been investigating the issue.
Speculation about potential delays had been spreading for several months, and the Government Accountability Office had launched an investigation into the matter.
It was highly likely that there would be delays. However, the flight dates announced on Tuesday were pushed back even more than anticipated by many.
The initial trial run, dubbed Artemis 1, is scheduled for November 2022. This will utilize the Space Launch System, a robust heavy lift rocket, to launch an unmanned Orion crew capsule on a journey around the moon and back.
NASA planned to send a three-man one-woman crew on the first piloted Orion flight, called Artemis 2, at the end of this year. This mission is a shakedown to test the spacecraft’s life support, propulsion, and other systems while orbiting Earth. After this, they will continue to a deep space loop around the moon and return.
The launch was delayed at the decision of mission managers in order to allow engineers additional time to address a problem with the Orion capsule’s heat shield that was discovered after the initial launch attempt.
They also require fixing recently identified issues with crucial batteries that were detected during the testing of units designated for the Artemis 3 Orion mission.
The protective covering is created to burn off or form a layer of char during the intense heat of re-entry when coming back from the moon at velocities exceeding 25,000 mph. In the case of the Artemis 1 re-entry, a larger amount of charred material detached from the heat shield compared to what was anticipated by computer simulations.
Although the sudden “release” did not affect the spacecraft, NASA wants to investigate the root cause in order to update their computer models and predict re-entry effects for various trajectories. This event would have gone unnoticed by astronauts if they were on board.
Amit Kshatriya, who serves as the deputy administrator for NASA’s Moon to Mars Program, has stated that engineers are nearing the discovery of the underlying reason for the unforeseen actions. The postponement of the launch was mainly due to a problem with the batteries, which required intricate disassembly to be accessed and replaced among numerous complex subsystems.
NASA Associate Administrator Jim Free stated that the crew of Artemis 2 will have the honor of being the first individuals to lay their eyes on the far side of the moon since the Apollo missions. He expressed excitement for the visual and audio documentation that will be brought back by the crew, which will not only capture those historic moments, but also contribute to our knowledge of the moon.
The team serves as a continual reminder of the importance of staying dedicated to completing the tasks necessary for their safe return.
SpaceX is constructing a lunar lander called Starship.
The planned date for the Artemis 3 mission to land on the moon is late 2026. This is based on the assumption that SpaceX’s Starship lunar lander, which has not yet been used in space, will complete several test flights in Earth’s orbit and at least one unmanned landing on the moon in 2025.
The Human Landing System, or HLS, is a variant of the Starship upper stage SpaceX is building that will launch atop the company’s gargantuan Super Heavy booster.
The HLS, being built under a $2.9 billion NASA contract awarded in 2021, will use up all is cryogenic methane and liquid oxygen propellant just getting to low-Earth orbit. To make it to the moon, the rocket must be robotically refueled.
Jessica Jensen, SpaceX vice president of customer operations and integration, said on the order of 10 Super Heavy-Starship “tanker” flights will be needed to carry up the propellants needed to refuel the HLS.
“I estimate it will be around 10,” she stated. “This is just my rough estimate at the moment. However, depending on the success of the initial flight tests, it could potentially be lower or slightly higher.”
The extremely cold fuels, which constantly evaporate, must be transferred one flight at a time to a storage vehicle. Once enough fuel is gathered, the HLS will be launched and refueled from the depot before taking off for the moon. It will then wait for an Orion crew to arrive.
Last year, SpaceX conducted their initial trial runs for the Super Heavy-Starship flights.
The results were only partially successful.
Neither of the Starship upper stages successfully reached the intended sub-orbital path. Jensen stated that there is a third test flight scheduled for February, subject to approval from the FAA. Propellant transfer test flights are expected to begin later this year.
“Safety of the crew is of utmost importance.”
The updated plan for Artemis 3 includes a test flight to the moon’s surface and back without a pilot, scheduled for sometime in 2025.
Jensen emphasized the importance of crew safety and expressed the need to conduct numerous flight tests on the Starship vehicle. Additionally, they plan to perform an uncrewed landing on the moon with the Starship before the Artemis 3 mission.
As part of the Artemis initiative, NASA intends to maintain a continuous presence on the moon by regularly sending astronauts to the southern polar region where there is potential for ice to be found in craters that are constantly in shadow.
If we can verify the existence of these deposits, we may potentially utilize solar or nuclear energy to convert the ice into hydrogen and oxygen. This could supply air, water, and rocket fuel for future space exploration. The presence of ice deposits could significantly decrease the expenses of these missions in comparison to bringing resources from Earth.
China also has intentions to investigate the south pole of the moon and has announced a planned mission for a manned landing in 2030. When questioned about potential concerns of China surpassing the current space race, Nelson stated, “I am not worried about China landing before us.”
He stated that China has a highly assertive strategy and may want to reach their goal before us in order to gain positive publicity. However, I do not believe they will succeed.