A high-ranking NASA employee has stated that the first launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) will take place after Q2 2021, which means that it has been delayed. According to the statements, several parts of the Artemis initiative have remained under development or will be contacted soon.
NASA Delayed SLS Launch to 2021
The Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft are present on this list, with the core stage of the SLS being tested at the Stennis Space Center. An uncrewed static fire test will take place later this year. Orion is also being assessed at the Plum Brook Station.
Current schedules infer that the core stage should be delivered to the Kennedy Space Center during early fall, which should allow the team to work on a functional launch strategy by Q2 to Q4 2021. An earlier statement that was offered by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine mentioned that the launch would take place in 2021, while the initial schedule cited November 2020 as the deadline.
Future Plans of NASA
Several plans have been commissioned by the new associated administrator for human exploration and operations, with Artemis 1 being one of them. Other projects are also being developed. A deal with Northrop Grumman will allow the company to establish the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) module, and a NASA press release mentioned that the contract would be attributed to the specific company.
NASA is also preparing to select a new contractor for the Gateway logistics services, which should work like the commercial cargo program for the International Space Station. Study contracts will be offered for the Human Landing System initiative.
These studies will evaluate the potential and costs of several projects, including the development of lunar landers that can carry astronauts to the surface and back. Several details and plans will be finalized in the following months, and more data about the projects will be shared in the future.