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NASA plans to launch its new Artemis lunar program in February 2022

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Washington (AFP)

This crucial mission, which will mark the beginning of the Artemis program, was originally scheduled for the end of the year, and the space agency hopes to be able to carry it out with astronauts on board in 2024, in Artemis 3. However, the schedule has been delayed.

NASA achieved a major breakthrough Wednesday by docking the crew’s Orion capsule atop its massive Space Launch System rocket, which is now 98 meters high inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

After conducting several tests, it will be moved to the launch pad for final testing in January, with the first launch window in February, authorities confirmed to reporters during a call.

“The February launch period begins on the 12th of February and our last chance in February will be on the 27th,” said Mike Sarafin, head of the Artemis 1 mission.

Next windows in March and then in April.

These possible launch periods depend on the mechanics of the orbit and Earth’s relative position with respect to its natural moon.

The mission is expected to last between four and six weeks.

It will also deploy a series of small satellites, known as CubeSats, for experiments and technical demonstrations.

Although it will likely be delayed, Artemis 2 is technically scheduled for 2023 and Artemis 3 for 2024, marking humanity’s return to the Moon for the first time since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

NASA says that among the astronauts who will go to the moon will be the first woman and the first person of color to make the trip.

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The US space agency is seeking to establish a sustainable presence on the moon and use lessons learned to plan a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s.