A senior NASA official raised concerns Wednesday that “difficulties” with SpaceX’s development of the huge new Starship rocket could delay the Artemis program’s first moon landing with astronauts from late 2025, a mission that will use a derivative of the Starship vehicle to ferry a two-person crew to and from the lunar surface.
SpaceX Starship is set to propel itself into the record books today on its maiden flight, becoming the tallest, heaviest and most powerful rocket ever launched by humankind into space, topping a role call of famous and history-making heavy-lift launch vehicles including the mighty Saturn 5 that first took humans to the moon.
Reid Wiseman, a veteran U.S. Navy test pilot and former chief of NASA’s astronaut corps, will lead the four-person crew assigned to the Artemis 2 mission to carry people to the vicinity of the moon for the first time in more than 50 years. Wiseman says he views the crew’s job as making sure NASA’s Orion spacecraft is ready for more demanding missions later this decade to support moon landings and assembly of a space station called the Gateway in lunar orbit.
NASA announced Monday that former U.S. Navy fighter pilots Reid Wiseman and Victor Glover, veteran space station astronaut Christina Koch, and rookie Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen will crew the Artemis 2 mission to fly around the far side of the moon as soon as late next year, a test flight that could carry the foursome farther from Earth than any humans in history.
Holding up a photo taken by China’s new Mars lander, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson warned Congress Wednesday that his agency faces increasingly stiff competition on the high frontier and that sustained funding for a new moon lander, infrastructure upgrades and other critical programs is vital for America’s space program.
The core stage of NASA’s first Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket arrived at the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday evening aboard a specially-built barge, completing a voyage by sea from a test site in Mississippi to begin final preparations for the first flight of NASA’s Artemis Moon program. Ground crews plan to transport the core stage into the Vehicle Assembly Building beginning around 5:30 a.m. EDT (0930 GMT) Thursday to join its two solid rocket boosters.
Teams at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi removed the core of NASA’s first Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket from a test stand earlier this week for loading onto a barge to carry it to Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where the rocket stage is due to arrive by the end of the month to start final preparations for a test flight around the Moon.