More than a year delay would move Artemis 3 past the end of President Biden’s first term
Harrison schmitt and Eugene Cernan took off from the Taurus-Littrow Valley to the Moon in their Lunar Challenger Module on December 14, 1972. Five days later, they splashed safely in the Pacific, shutting down the Apollo 17 Mission and become the last humans to visit the lunar surface or venture anywhere beyond low earth orbit.
Now the international Artemis program, led by NASA, aims to get humans back to the moon by 2024. But it seems increasingly likely that that goal could be missed.
History shows how vulnerable space programs, which require years of planning and development across multiple jurisdictions, are. After Apollo 17, NASA had plans for several more lunar Apollo missions, including even a possible flyby of Venus. But budget cuts in the early 1970s and a redefinition of priorities for human spaceflight to focus on Skylab project prevented any further lunar mission at that time.
It was not until July 20, 1989, the 20th anniversary …
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