It looks like it will take a little longer than expected to send astronauts back to the moon. NASA has postponed the Artemis II flight, originally scheduled to orbit four astronauts around the moon in late 2024, until September 2025. The Artemis III mission, which will land astronauts on the moon for the first time since 1972, has also been postponed from its original plan. From 2025 to 2026 at the earliest.
NASA officials said in a Jan. 9 press conference that the decision was made to ensure the safety of the crew and allow time to fully test all components of the spacecraft.
“We want to emphasize that safety is our top priority…and as we prepare to send our friends and colleagues on this mission, we are committed to launching as safely as possible. “We are here,” the NASA deputy administrator said. gym free During the briefing session. “We'll leave when you're ready.”
One cause for concern was that during the test, the heat shield of the Orion spacecraft (the Artemis program's crew capsule) flared up a bit more than expected, dropping some charred debris. “This heat shield is an ablative material and is supposed to char, but it's not what we expected and some of that char will be released from the vehicle,” NASA officials said. Amit Kshatriya said during a briefing.
NASA is investigating why this happened, as well as analyzing several problems that occurred during the test, including a defect in a valve that could affect the spacecraft's life support systems. I am currently in the process of doing so. “We know how to fix it,” Kshatriya said. “All we need to do is take the time to work to the standards of workmanship we expect from a human-rated vehicle.”
Finally, there were some potential problems with the giant new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket's abort system. These are the systems that separate Orion and fly it to safety in the event of a problem with the rocket itself, so these electrical problems can be characterized and fixed before humans are on board. Especially important.