The US space agency Nasa has postponed the manned lunar orbit “Artemis 2”, previously planned for November 2024, to September 2025 due to problems with the rocket and spacecraft.

The planned manned moon landing “Artemis 3” will be postponed to September 2026, NASA announced at a press conference. “Artemis 4”, another planned moon landing, is still scheduled for September 2028.

“We are doing something incredibly difficult,” said NASA boss Bill Nelson. “And safety is our top priority.” That’s why they want to give the teams more time to work on the current challenges.

US astronaut Christina Koch, her US colleagues Victor Glover and Reid Wiseman and Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen were actually supposed to fly around the moon in the “Orion” capsule for around ten days in November 2024. They would have been the first four astronauts near the moon since the astronauts of the “Apollo 17” mission set foot on Earth’s satellite for some time in 1972.

At the end of 2022, the “Space Launch System” rocket system and the “Orion” capsule were successfully tested unmanned for the first time. About a year after “Artemis 2,” another manned flight, including a moon landing, was to follow, “Artemis 3.”

Experts had already questioned the timing

The “Artemis” program, named after the Greek goddess of the moon, is intended to land a woman and a non-white person on the moon for the first time – this was originally scheduled to take place by 2024, but experts questioned this timeline from the start. The European Space Agency Esa and space agencies of several other countries are involved in “Artemis”.

The last time people were on the moon was around 50 years ago with the “Apollo 17” mission – the landing took place on December 11, 1972. In total, the USA was the only country to date to bring twelve astronauts with the “Apollo” missions between 1969 and 1972 the moon.