NASA's Artemis I Mission Delayed Once Again

The first mission in NASA's plan to return humans to the Moon has been postponed until at least spring, according to the US space agency, which claimed it needed more time to perform safety assessments.

The launch of the Artemis I spacecraft, which was originally scheduled for late 2021 but was postponed twice, will now take place in April.

"Teams are taking operations a step at a time to ensure the integrated system is ready to safely launch the Artemis I mission. NASA is reviewing launch opportunities in April and May," NASA said in a statement.

Artemis I will be an uncrewed flight test, but it will mark the official start of the program, which might see the first woman and person of color set foot on the Moon in the future.

Artemis I will also be the first voyage of the enormous Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which will transport the Orion capsule to the Moon and place it in orbit before returning to Earth.

The SLS system's testing, which had been scheduled for this month, will now take place in March at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, according to NASA.

Except for the actual take-off, the rocket will be brought to the launch pad, fueled, and the launch sequence will be started for that test.

After that, the US space agency will be able to select a launch date based on the results of the test.

According to Tom Whitmeyer, deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development at NASA Headquarters in Washington, there is no "particular" issue that has caused the additional delays.

"It could be something as simple as a scratch that needs to be polished out or some paint that needs to be fixed. There's just a lot of that—it's a really big vehicle," he said.

A government audit released a few months ago predicted that Artemis I will take place "around the summer of 2022."

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