Thu, 20 Jun 2019

NASA said its first new mission to the moon in decades would take place in 2020, with a landing of astronauts scheduled four years later.

The U.S. space agency unveiled the timetable for its so-called 'Artemis' program on May 23.

NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said first phase of the program would feature an unmanned probe being launched in 2020, and would be called Artemis 1.

The following missions would come in 2022, with a manned capsule to orbit the moon, followed by a mission to put astronauts on the surface in 2024. That crew will include the first woman to visit the moon.

The name 'Artemis' comes from Greek mythology: she was the goddess of hunting and the moon and also was the sister of the god Apollo, for whom the original NASA moon missions in the late 1960s and 1970s were named.

Aside from the NASA-led missions, five more launches were also scheduled between 2022 and 2024, to carry construction equipment for a lunar mini-station called 'Gateway.'

Those will be conducted by private space companies, under contract from NASA.

With reporting by AFP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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