Spaceflight

Here’s the latest Artemis timeline: Humans to the moon!

Four astronauts in spacesuits.
Artemis 2 is scheduled to carry astronauts around the moon in September 2025. It’s preparatory for Artemis 3, which will land the first humans on the lunar surface in over 50 years. The four Artemis 2 astronauts are Christina Hammock Koch, Victor Glover, Reid Wiseman and Canadian Jeremy Hansen. Learn more about them below.

NASA announced new Artemis timeline in January

Soon, NASA’s Artemis missions will carry humans back to the moon. NASA announced the latest Artemis timeline in January 2024. Artemis 1 successfully completed its mission in 2022 with an uncrewed test flight that orbited the moon. Artemis 2 will be the first crewed mission to orbit the moon in more than 50 years. Its new launch date is no earlier than September 2025. The following mission, Artemis 3, will be the first to return humans to the moon since the Apollo missions. Artemis 3 is now slated for September 2026. And Artemis 4, another mission to take humans to the moon, will be no earlier than September 2028.

The announcement said:

To safely carry out these missions, agency leaders are adjusting the schedules for Artemis 2 and Artemis 3 to allow teams to work through challenges associated with first-time developments, operations, and integration.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in January:

We are returning to the moon in a way we never have before, and the safety of our astronauts is NASA’s top priority as we prepare for future Artemis missions. We’ve learned a lot since Artemis I, and the success of these early missions relies on our commercial and international partnerships to further our reach and understanding of humanity’s place in our solar system.

Catherine Koerner of NASA added:

We are letting the hardware talk to us so that crew safety drives our decision-making. We will use the Artemis 2 flight test, and each flight that follows, to reduce risk for future moon missions. We are resolving challenges associated with first-time capabilities and operations, and we are closer than ever to establishing sustained exploration of Earth’s nearest neighbor under Artemis.

Artemis 2 astronauts announced

On April 3, 2023, NASA announced the four astronauts who will be taking part in its Artemis 2 mission (officially Artemis II). The mission is scheduled to carry astronauts around the moon in September 2025. It’s preparatory for Artemis 3, which will land the first humans on the lunar surface in over 50 years. The four Artemis 2 astronauts are Christina Hammock Koch, Victor Glover, Reid Wiseman and Canadian Jeremy Hansen. Learn more about them below.

Here’s the announcement video


Watch NASA’s announcement of the Artemis 2 astronauts for a mission around the moon. NASA made the announcement on April 3, 2023.

Artemis will return humans to the moon

The Apollo program, which first took humans to the moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s, has long awaited a successor. Enter Artemis, the NASA program that will return humans to the moon. Artemis will be a multi-stage program using new technology, including the powerful SLS rocket. Artemis 1, an uncrewed test mission that circled the moon, successfully completed its mission on December 11, 2022. The next stage of the program, Artemis 2, will take a crewed mission around the moon no earlier than September 2025.


The Artemis program is the name for NASA’s missions to return humans to the moon.

Artemis 1

Artemis 1 launched to the moon from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 1:47 a.m. EST on November 16, 2022. The uncrewed flight covered a total of 1.4 million miles (2.2 million km) on its journey. The Orion capsule, the compartment that will hold the future crew, spent more time in space than any human spacecraft has without docking to a space station. It also set a new record for the greatest distance from Earth – for any craft built for human space travel – of 268,563 miles (432,210 km). The Orion spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on December 11, 2022.

Map showing Artemis 1's figure-eight path around the moon and what it did at different points along its journey.
A closer look at the major points in Artemis 1’s path around the moon and back. Image via NASA.

Artemis 2, 3, 4 and beyond

Artemis 2 will be the first crewed flight for the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft. This mission will follow in the footsteps on Artemis 1, taking astronauts on a journey around the moon without landing. The four-crew members should launch toward the moon sometime in September 2025. NASA announced the astronauts of the Artemis 2 mission on April 3, 2023.

Artemis 3 will be the mission that finally lands on the moon. The crew of four will include the first woman and the first person of color to go to the moon. A Human Landing System (HLS) – still in development – will launch prior to Artemis 3 and will await the Orion spacecraft at the moon. Then, two astronauts will descend to the moon on the HLS and spend approximately six days on the surface. This mission will launch no earlier than September 2026.

Artemis 4 and Artemis 5 are additional missions that plan to land on the moon, with possible launch dates of September 2028 and September 2029, respectively.

The vision of the Artemis program

Ultimately, the Artemis program aims to send the first humans back to the moon by the middle of this decade. When they go, they’ll be aiming for the moon’s south pole, a place that scientists have discovered in recent decades has large amounts of water ice. Water contains oxygen, so processing it will make it possible for future astronauts to stay longer.

Someday, visionaries still hope, we will have a permanent presence on the moon. And we will go to Mars.

Such dreams are an integral part of humanity’s natural wanderlust in the 21st century. And so future historians might look back at our time – and at the Artemis missions – as the moment humanity took a true giant leap to space, maybe this time for good.

Bottom line: NASA released the latest timeline for the Artemis missions in January 2024. The crewed Artemis 2 mission will happen no earlier than September 2025.

Read more: New NASA moon suit makes its debut

Posted 
February 23, 2024
 in 
Spaceflight

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