Artemis Program Faces Setbacks as Spacecraft Development Hits Roadblocks
NASA is set to delay its next few missions to the moon under the Artemis program as technical hurdles mount with the various spacecraft intended for the missions, according to sources familiar with NASA’s plans.
The U.S. space agency is expected to announce the delays after spending months tracking progress with contractors and considering changes to the Artemis program, a multi-billion dollar effort aimed at returning astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972.
NASA’s second Artemis mission, which was planned for late 2024, is expected to be pushed beyond its target date due to issues uncovered with the Lockheed Martin-built Orion crew capsule’s batteries during vibration tests. The batteries will need to be replaced, delaying the mission’s timeline. This mission would have marked the first flight with humans aboard after launching the capsule uncrewed atop NASA’s Space Launch System in a 2022 inaugural test.
The hope for US’ first moon landing in more than 50 years has appeared to have crashed, after a US private company’s spacecraft reported “critical fuel leak” hours after Monday’s launch. Experts said the failed attempt could impact the US Artemis program. https://t.co/oPzgtz93M2 pic.twitter.com/Stejm6O3Vg
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) January 9, 2024
Artemis 3, the first mission intended to land humans on the moon using the Starship landing system from NASA contractor SpaceX, will also be postponed. SpaceX is taking longer than expected to reach certain development milestones, leading to a delay in the mission’s schedule.
NASA’s Artemis program relies heavily on private companies, including Boeing and Northrop Grumman for the Space Launch System, Lockheed for the Orion capsule, SpaceX for the Starship, and Blue Origin for a future astronaut lander.
NASA is closely monitoring the situation and working with its contractors to address the technical challenges. The agency is committed to ensuring the safety and success of its upcoming missions, which play a crucial role in advancing space exploration and scientific discovery.