NASA will land the first person of color, in addition to the first woman on the moon, as part of its Artemis program, said Steve Jurczyk, acting administrator of the US Space Agency.
President Biden’s administration has just submitted a $ 24.7 billion budget proposal to Congress outlining its discretionary spending priorities for fiscal year 2022. The proposed budget includes an increase in funding for NASA that will support the Martian sample return mission, climate science and the Artemis program. In one communicatedActing administrator Steve Jurczyk also revealed that the agency will bring the first person of color to the moon.
Two years ago, under President Trump’s leadership, NASA had already committed to “Land the first lady on the lunar surface within five years ”. To date, only twelve people have ever walked on the Moon – all Americans and all white men.
Following this new announcement, Steve Jurczyk outlined an objective “In line with President Biden’s commitment” aiming to “Pursue a comprehensive approach to advance equity for all”.
This new funding request tells us more about the general science goals of the Biden administration. In the coming months, the President is expected to issue a full budget that will include a more detailed plan for these expenses.
Artemis program, where are we?
Regarding the Artemis program, President Trump’s administration had set a new human moon landing by 2024. For its part, the Biden administration has not yet specified whether it will maintain this ambitious schedule. According to several specialists, this milestone could be postponed to 2025, or even 2026.
Concerning the moon landing “module”, the American agency has given itself until April 30 to make its decision. The three companies competing are: Blue Origin, Dynetics and SpaceX.
In the meantime, NASA still plans to launch the first phase of its program in November 2021 from Launch Complex 39 at Kennedy Space Center (Florida). As part of this mission called Artemis I, an Orion spacecraft (photo above) will be capped on the Block 1 version of NASA’s heavy launcher: the Space Launch System (SLS).
During this mission, which should last around 26 days, the Orion capsule will fly to our satellite, then fly over its hidden face at an altitude of around 150 km. The spacecraft will then be injected into a more distant retrograde orbit that it will travel for six days before starting a second pass at low altitude. It will finally be reinjected towards Earth to land in the Pacific.