Joe Biden shows his support for the Artemis program

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Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Thursday, February 4, that President Joe Biden would continue the Artemis program to land humans on the moon again. On the other hand, the 2024 deadline will probably be pushed back.

In 2017, the Trump administration asked NASA to send astronauts back to the moon in 2024 as part of a program later named Artemis. Unlike the Apollo program, however, it would no longer be a matter of simply “setting your feet” on the lunar surface. The objective will in fact beestablish permanent facilities in the South Pole region, allowing crews to make long stays in space.

We knew from the start that that 2024 target might be a bit ambitious. Some had then justified this deadline by the idea that if successful, this return to the Moon could be operated. under the presidency of Donald Trump, in case of re-election. However, since last January, the United States has finally been ruled by a new president: Joe Biden.

We support this effort and this company

Since his election, Joe Biden had not spoken about NASA and its lunar exploration projects. Some even thought his administration could cancel the Artemis program to focus more on tackling climate change.

Finally, White House press secretary Jen Psaki reassured everyone on Thursday during her briefing with reporters. “The United States government will continue to work with industry and its international partners to send astronauts, another man and a first woman, to the moon“, has she confirmed. “We support this effort and this company“.

Artist’s vision of the Orion Artemis I spacecraft and its service module designed by ESA. Credit: NASA

An extended deadline?

On the other hand, Jen Psaki, who was answering a journalist’s question, did not mentioned the 2024 deadline set by the Trump administration. Recall that last year, a bipartisan effort by the United States House of Representatives instead sought to push this landing mission to 2028, in accordance with previous NASA objectives. A priori, the next “foot” placed by humans on the Moon should therefore take place between these two deadlines.

Remember that the first part of the Artemis I program is normally scheduled for next November. During this mission, the Space Launch System (SLS), the 98-meter super-heavy launcher developed by NASA for a decade, will be responsible for releasing an unmanned Orion capsule into space. It will then go around our satellite before returning to Earth. Whether the rocket will be ready on time remains to be seen. A second hot shot test is scheduled for the end of the month, after a failed first test on January 16.

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