NASA delays moon landing for astronauts until 2026.
NASA's Artemis program, aiming to return astronauts to the moon within this decade amidst renewed global interest in lunar exploration, faces significant delays.
Artemis III, the mission to land humans on the moon for the first time since Apollo, has been postponed and is now set for a launch in September 2026 or later.
NASA officials announced during a press briefing on Tuesday that the scheduled launch date for the mission had been changed from 2025.
The delay is due to SpaceX's focus on developing Starship, a massive rocket and spacecraft system for lunar missions. However, two test flights in 2023 ended in explosions.
SpaceX's lunar lander development poses challenges as it needs to secure enough propellant for the moon voyage, despite Starship's successful orbit demonstration.
According to Jessica Jensen, SpaceX's vice president of customer operations and integration, this accomplishment is anticipated to require a minimum of 10 refueling flights.
NASA's Jim Free stressed the need for a realistic perspective as we evaluate the progress of our Starship and the importance of propellant transfer and multiple landings.
Jensen mentioned that SpaceX might be prepared, and obtain the required regulatory authorizations, for its third Starship test flight by February.
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