In our age of technology, immense leaps have been made, especially with the expedition of putting humans on Mars. The Artemis Plan is a collaboration between different space agencies-NASA, ESA, DLR, JAXA, CSA, ISA, ASI, and many other private companies-with the lofty goal of setting foot on another planet. The sister to the massive success of the Apollo program was launched in 2017 and has continued in its exploration. In 2019, a fast approaching deadline of 2024 was set for a return landing on the moon. It’s the first step in a mission to establish a permanent residence on the moon. The ambitious deadline seems a little unattainable, but a launch is scheduled for Artemis II in November of 2024, with the first model having been launched last year.
The program centers around a succession of Space Launch System (SLS) missions. The first craft, Artemis I, was launched in 2022. It was uncrewed, but the first test flight proved to be successful. It’s been a long time coming, but previous projects had all been canceled. Artemis I seemed unlikely to happen, as the first planned launch had been back in 2016, but numerous mechanical delays pushed it back to a later date. A fuel leak in August of 2022 further delayed the launch. Once the leak had been repaired, Hurricane Ian (a category 5 hurricane with winds of 162 mph) stopped further progress, until the craft was launched on the 16th.
Artemis I went into lunar orbit before returning to Earth, after depositing an Orion spacecraft. The vessel has the capacity to hold up to 4 people, and can spend three weeks undocked. Other supporting programs include rovers, additional projects, and commercial launchers.
NASA has released the names of the astronauts qualified for the Artemis program-the 42 active members of the Corps, with more in training. Only a select four will be part of the Artemis II expedition-the launch to put man on the moon again for the first time in over fifty years. The positions include a commander, pilot, and two mission specialists. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the launch will happen by next year, as in 2021, the expedition was canceled and the following program delayed until at least 2025.
The Artemis Program has received much criticism, including from former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, yet it still is defying boundaries: in space where man has never been before, and between governments, as it utilizes many different space agencies. With an ambitious goal ahead, next year will prove to be one of the most exciting yet in technological advancement.