During the Artemis 4 mission, which is scheduled to take place before 2027, astronauts will still descend to the surface of the Moon. It will use the Starship lander Option B. Also, the I-Hab residential module will be launched into the orbit of the Earth moon.
Artemis 4 Mission
On October 28, at the Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium, NASA announced that during the fourth mission of the Artemis program, astronauts will still land on the Moon. Earlier, the official plans indicated that after a person steps on the surface of our moon again during the third mission of the program, a break will be made.
Instead, the main goal of Artemis 4 was to put the I-Hab habitation module into orbit on the Moon. It should become the basis of the Gateway orbital station, which will serve not only as an intermediate point for landings on the surface of the moon, but will also be used for flights to other planets.
Currently, it has become known that the Artemis 4 mission will still involve landing people on the Moon. Moreover, the Starship lander Option B, which SpaceX should prepare, will be used for it.
Which module will land on the Moon
NASA’s initial contract with SpaceX provided for the use of at least the third mission of the Starship module Option A. However, back in March, it became known that instead of it, Option B, designed for longer and more complex missions, will be used to return people to the Moon during Artemis 3.
NASA agreed to finance its development and construction and announced that if it proved itself well during the third mission, it would be used further. So far, Artemis 3 is scheduled for no earlier than 2025, Artemis 4 for 2027, and Artemis 5 for 2028.
But now everything depends on when SpaceX will complete the construction of a new version of the Starship lander. So far, they are reporting significant progress, but they refuse to publish any kind of readiness schedule.
In addition, the timing of the construction of the I-Hab module will affect the duration of the Artemis 4 mission. NASA is building it together with Japan. It is also unknown when the SLS Block 1B carrier variant will be ready, providing for the use of the Mobile Launcher (ML) 2 mobile launcher platform.
Other lander variants
At the same time, NASA announced the launch of the Sustaining Lunar Development (SLD) program, which provides for the creation of a lander by another commercial company. Thanks to this, it is planned to achieve the sustainable development of the monthly program, when managers will always have a backup option.
NASA has not yet chosen its SLD partner, but it is already known that the module developed by it will be used during the Artemis 5 mission. While the details of this project are not publicly discussed, it is known that the deadline for submitting applications has been postponed from October 21 to December 6.
According to spacenews.com
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