SpaceX still has a lot to prove.

Starship Has Sailed

NASA’s efforts to return humans to the lunar surface are facing some serious delays.

As Reuters reports, the space agency’s first crewed lunar landing mission in over half a century, dubbed Artemis 3 will likely slip from its tentative late 2025 launch date, with insider sources saying that the issue is SpaceX is taking longer than expected to reach certain milestones with its massive Starship spacecraft (you know, the one that keeps exploding.)

Similarly, NASA’s Artemis 2 mission, a crewed journey around the Moon and back, will also likely be pushed back due to recently uncovered issues with Boeing’s Orion crew capsule, per the report.

Given the astronomical complexities involved, the news shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. SpaceX has been working at a fever pitch to get its 165-foot stainless steel rocket into orbit and carried out two orbital launch attempts last year — both of which ended in, well, don’t call them failures but the missions didn’t survive.

Not Ready Yet

The plan is to have a Starship Human Landing System spacecraft rendezvous with an Orion spacecraft and ferry NASA astronauts from the Moon’s orbit down to the surface.

It’s a complicated mission that involves several Starship spacecraft fueling a Moon landing variant in Earth’s orbit, before meeting up with the crew hundreds of thousands of miles away.

SpaceX still has a lot to prove, including achieving a stable orbit, swapping fuel between spacecraft, and of course the ability to make a safe and soft approach to the lunar surface.

Despite the delays, NASA is still making progress toward its goal of returning the first astronauts to the lunar surface in over half a century. So far, NASA already has one successful Artemis mission under its belt, having launched an uncrewed Orion capsule around the Moon and back in 2022.

According to Reuters, NASA is expected to announce revised plans today, so stay tuned.

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