The iconic Apollo program, which took place in the 1960s and the 1970s was named after Apollo, the Greek God of the Sun. NASA’s ambitious Artemis program carries the name of the Goddess of the Hunt and Apollo’s sister.
NASA’s Artemis would mark the first female moonwalker
NASA is hard at work on the new Artemis program, and the maiden flight for the Space Launch System rocket was scheduled for 2020. The imposing booster has a height of 30-stories, and it will carry a prototype capsule known as Orion on a mission to the moon and back.
The new Artemis program, which was announced by NASA in May, involves the return of astronauts to the surface of the moon by 2024, along with the first female moonwalker. The space agency will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people who landed on the moon in 1969.
If everything goes according to plan a crewed test will take place in 2022, and a small space station will be constructed and placed in the orbit of the moon. A lander will reach the orbit in 2024. Within the same timeframe, a crew of four astronauts will use the Orion Capsule to reach the station, board the lander and begin a descent towards the surface of the moon.
NASA’s Artemis program for returning to the moon is quite ambitious
The plan is quite ambitious, and there a few problems which may surface in the future. It is likely that political, technological, and budgetary issues will surface in the following years.
After the success of the Apollo missions, the interest of sending people to the moon started to fade rapidly. NASA shifted its focus on missions related to Earth’s orbit and the International Space Station. In 2010 a government panel concluded that NASA would need at least two decades to return to the moon and the moon program was retired in favor of a project which aimed to reach Mars.
The Trump administration decided that a return to the moon is mandatory, with a deadline of 2024. It remains to be seen if NASA will be able to reach the goal.