Artemis I unmanned mission to the Moon is again postponed to a later date

(ORDO NEWS) — The first mission of NASA’s program to return a man to the lunar surface is now scheduled to take place no earlier than the spring, the US space agency said on Wednesday, explaining that more time is needed to complete safety checks.

The launch of the Artemis I mission (“Artemis-1”), originally scheduled for the end of 2021 and then postponed two more times, will now not occur until April.

“Teams are consistently conducting mission preparation operations to ensure that the entire system is ready for the safe launch of the Artemis I mission. NASA will review launch opportunities in April and May,” the space agency said in a statement.

The Artemis I mission will be an unmanned flight test, but it will also mark the real start of a program that will put a woman and a person of color on the moon for the first time.

The Artemis I expedition will also be the first flight of the powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which will serve to send the Orion capsule to the Moon, where it will enter orbit, from where it will return to Earth.

Tests of the SLS system, which were scheduled earlier this month, are now expected on the premises of the Kennedy Space Center in March, NASA said.

During these tests, the rocket will be taken to the launch pad and refueled, after which all pre-launch procedures will begin – and only at the last moment the launch will not take place.

Based on the results of this test, the US space agency will more accurately determine the launch date.

Thomas Whitmyer, First Assistant Administrator for Space Exploration Systems Development at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said the additional delays were not related to any one “specific” problem.

“It could be a simple scratch that needs to be buffed out, or a paint problem that needs to be addressed. There are many such trifles – after all, we are talking about a very large rocket,” he said.

Data from a government audit a few months ago suggested that the Artemis I mission would likely launch “in the summer of 2022.”

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