Space race: Where the US stands on sending people back to the moon

Moon Landing 50 Years
In this July 20, 1969 photo made available by NASA, astronaut Buzz Aldrin Jr. poses for a photograph beside the U.S. flag on the moon. (Neil Armstrong/NASA via AP)

Space race: Where the US stands on sending people back to the moon

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The United States has not landed a man on the moon since 1972, but that hiatus looks likely to end in the coming years.

NASA‘s Artemis program looks to surpass the heights achieved with the Apollo missions to the lunar surface in the 1960s and 1970s.

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Artemis I, an unmanned test mission to the moon, successfully saw the Orion spacecraft orbit and conduct tests during its travel from the Earth to the moon.

The mission faced months of delays due to various problems, from weather to problems with the heating processes for the rocket. It finally launched on Nov. 16, 2022, and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 11, 2022.

Artemis II is currently scheduled for 2024, with this mission slated to be the first manned mission around the moon in half a century, but no astronaut is planned to land on the lunar surface.

The 10-day manned mission will see astronauts testing the capabilities of the Orion spacecraft as they orbit the moon. The mission will also work to “validate the capabilities and techniques needed for humans to live and work in deep space.”

NASA unveiled the crew for Artemis II in April, which features NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, and Christina Koch and Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen.

“The Artemis II crew represents thousands of people working tirelessly to bring us to the stars. This is their crew, this is our crew, this is humanity’s crew,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement at the time.

The next manned mission we have planned to land on the surface of the moon is Artemis III which is currently scheduled for 2025.

Artemis III is slated to be the first in a series of lunar landings planned by the space agency, which includes Artemis IV and V in 2028 and 2029, respectively. SpaceX is creating the human landing system for the Artemis III and IV missions, while Blue Origin has been contracted to create the human landing system for Artemis V.

A crew for missions following Artemis II will be announced by NASA in the future.

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The Artemis program is designed to land men and women on the moon, but it also has an eye for a future manned mission to the red planet. The techniques learned through the Artemis missions on the moon are going to be used for missions in the distant future to Mars, according to NASA.

“We are in a golden age of human spaceflight, which is made possible by NASA’s commercial and international partnerships. Together, we are making an investment in the infrastructure that will pave the way to land the first astronauts on Mars,” Nelson said in a statement announcing Blue Origin’s selection to make a human landing system for Artemis V.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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