NASA’s Manned Return To Moon Delayed Again

The race to return a man to the moon is slipping from NASA’s grasp once again as the agency announced yet another delay for pending launch dates.

Last week’s announcement cited major safety concerns over continuing issues with a battery, the spacecraft’s heat shield and a critical component for climate control and ventilation.

Artemis II, the first crewed mission around the moon, was previously scheduled for this November. It has now been shifted to September 2025. As for the first crewed mission to land on the moon since 1972, it will have to wait even longer.

Artemis III was placed on hold until September 2026 after having a launch date of December 2025.

The first Artemis mission featured an uncrewed test flight and was postponed for four years until November 2022. NASA claimed Artemis IV, which will transport astronauts to the Gateway lunar space station, is still on track for a 2028 launch.

The program is a giant step in preparation for sending the first humans to Mars.

NASA is teaming with private companies to return humans to the moon for the first time in over five decades, but the sweeping effort has recently been beset with issues. The agency’s announcement of delays followed another round of disappointing news by only an hour.

Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic Technology launched a spacecraft to the moon last Monday in a commercial effort to serve as a scout for future landings. However, it suffered a fuel leak that ended the mission.

A Houston company will launch its own spacecraft for the Earth’s satellite next month.

Then there are issues with SpaceX’s Starship mega rocket. It will be relied upon to get the Artemis astronauts to the lunar surface and back up again, but that’s only when multiple successful tests have been carried out.

The almost 400-foot rocket was launched twice from Texas only to explode over the Gulf of Mexico both times. Starship will get a third chance to prove its worth next month with another launch.

The race to get astronauts back to the moon, of course, is now with China. Every delay increases the possibility that Beijing will beat the U.S. to the next moon landing.