Artemis is still in very early stages of planning, and yet to receive Congress’s approval for funding.
There’s finally a name for the mission that will likely carry the first woman astronaut to the Moon. The American space agency has named it Artemis, after the Greek Moon goddess who was also the twin sister of the Apollo.
The first men to walk on the Moon did so under the Apollo missions between 1960 and 1972. Now, 50 years later, NASA has planned to send the first woman to the Moon in a manned lunar mission in 2024.
“I think it is very beautiful that 50 years after Apollo, the Artemis program will carry the next man and the first woman to the Moon,” Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator said in a statement. “I have a daughter who is 11 years old, and I want her to be able to see herself in the same role as the next women that go to the Moon.”
The announcement came after NASA got its updated budget request approved. The changes made factored-in the $1.6 billion Trump recommended as a “downpayment” to accelerate the timeline for the agency’s next Moon mission from the originally-planned 2028 to the revised target: 2024. That’s a tight squeeze considering the amount of things NASA still has to get done.
But NASA is pursuing its revised target with a renewed vigour. It’s not just the finances that are only now falling in place, NASA also has an untested new rocket — the Space Launch System — and a crew capsule in construction to carry astronauts back to the Moon, to Mars and beyond.
But the NASA Chief sounded quite motivated and confident that they’ll match up to meet the deadline.
“The first woman will be an American on the surface of the moon in five years,” Bridenstine said in April during the Space Symposium conference in Colorado Springs. “That is an extreme declaration and a charge that we are going to live up to at NASA.”