NASA has delayed two major Artemis missions, Artemis II and Artemis III, citing safety concerns, according to officials.
Artemis II initially planned to send four astronauts to the lunar orbit in November 2024. It has now been rescheduled for liftoff in September 2025. The timeline adjustment for Artemis III, set to land the crew on the moon's south pole, ensures the integration of lessons learned from Artemis II. Originally targeted for late 2025, NASA now plans to launch Artemis III in September 2026, as announced by agency officials on Tuesday.
NASA officials cited crew safety as the main factor behind rescheduling the missions. Artemis II, being the initial crewed test flight aboard the Orion spacecraft, necessitates the reliability of all environmental control and life support systems. However, recent testing has revealed problems with a circuitry component responsible for air ventilation, temperature control, and a battery issue. Addressing these issues will take more time than initially allocated in the Artemis schedule.
NASA is currently looking into the unanticipated detachment of protective material from the heat shield of the Orion spacecraft during its Artemis I mission. The mission, launched in November 2022 and concluded in December, experienced this unexpected occurrence.