A leaked draft gives us an idea of ​​what NASA plans to settle on the Moon

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The delays seem to be becoming one of the hallmarks of the Artemis program, with which NASA wants to return humans to the moon in the next decade. Everything indicates that the calendar managed by the US space agency will continue to generate controversy. A leaked document to the page Ars Technica They have added fuel to the fire. It would be a draft that shows the calendar of the Artemis missions, but some do not see it feasible.


A program with secrets.
For now we have fairly specific information on the Artemis 1, 2 and 3 missions. The first, scheduled for this year, will reach our satellite to orbit it. To do so, it will use an SLS rocket in its Block 1 configuration and will carry an Orion capsule into lunar orbit.

Artemis 2 will depart in 2024 with the same configuration and similar route, but this time with astronauts on board. Artemis 3 will fulfill the primary objective of bringing humans to the surface of the Moon. For this, the SLS rocket will start in a different configuration, Block 1B. This should arrive in 2026. From there we know that NASA has another six missions, Artemis 4-9, in mind, to be carried out between 2026 and 2032.

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What’s new.
And we enter the most speculative area. The leaked schedule is actually three: A “base schedule” with minor variations from what we already know, with Artemis 3 departing in 2025, Artemis 4 in 2027, and Artemis 9 in 2032. The schedule adds two new logistics missions in 2033. and 2034, Artemis 10 and 11.

Two calendars accompany this, the cadence calendar and the content calendar. The cadence one prioritizes the regularity in the launches for which it adds an Artemis 3.5 mission to launch in 2027. The content calendar would have as a priority to launch the missions as they are ready.

Both schedules push Artemis 2 back to 2025. The schedules place Artemis 4 in 2027 or 2029 and Artemis 8 between 2033 and 2034. The slightly faster content schedule adds the Artemis 9 mission in 2034.

Doubts.
The information has been accompanied by doubts about its feasibility, although it should be remembered that it would be a draft, as the fact that there are three versions of the schedule would show.

Financing is one of the key issues. The possibility of implementing these calendars fundamentally depends on the budgets approved by the US Congress, and the experts point out that this circumstance will not occur.

The success of the mission in the hands of SpaceX.
Another key factor is that part of the program is not even in the hands of NASA but of one of its contractors, SpaceX. Your project to use star ship as a landing module, it obtained the contract in the contest for developing this element. The ship is still under development. The possibility of taking people to the Moon will depend on the progress of this project.

Gateway’s role.
star ship has also cast doubt on the need for a space station orbiting the Moon, Gateway. The station had the objective of facilitating the transit between the Moon and the Earth, as well as allowing constant communication between the equipment deployed on the satellite and the control from the Earth.

The calendars take into account the construction of this outpost, but experts point out that this base has become unnecessary thanks to the use of the mammoth star ship. Many of the functions of these two designs would become redundantwhich would imply the need for a change in strategy, at least if you want to prioritize cost savings.

A space race with many sides.
All of this comes amid a steady trickle of news about the progress of Chinese space plans. These not only include reaching our satellite but also include the construction of a permanent international lunar base together with Russia but open to the international community.

It also competes with the United States and ESA for being the first to bring Martian soil samples back to Earth. However, future missions to Mars also pass through the Moon, so there is much more to the Artemis program than the mere fact of being the first to return a human to the moon after more than 50 years.

Image | POT

The delays seem to be becoming one of the hallmarks of the Artemis program, with which NASA wants to return…

The delays seem to be becoming one of the hallmarks of the Artemis program, with which NASA wants to return…

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