China Could Reach The Moon Before The US Returns

The United States delays the manned flight of Artemis III to 2025 and warns of the "aggressive" Chinese space program. Legal challenges and covid-19 have delayed the American aerospace program.

NASA showed its concern on Tuesday. The United States delayed the manned return to the Moon to 2025 as part of its Artemis program due to legal challenges and COVID-19 and hopes to do so first before China reaches this satellite, according to NASA administrator Bill Nelson, But there is fear that the Chinese space program will do it sooner.

"We are estimating, not before 2025, for Artemis III, which would be the human landing," Nelson said at a press conference. The former senator said the agency has had to deal with technology issues, legal problems that took seven months to resolve, and even the pandemic. Nelson further said that the Artemis I mission, which will not carry astronauts on a flight that will orbit the Moon, is delayed until spring 2022, while the manned Artemis II mission is targeting May 2024.

The new schedule represents a delay from the previous goal of 2024, set by the administration of former President Donald Trump. "The Trump administration's goal of a human landing in 2024 was not based on technical feasibility," Nelson said.

He pointed out on the other hand that the Chinese are being very "aggressive" in space and that the interest of NASA and the United States is to return "first" to the Moon. "We want to be the first to return to the moon there after more than half a century," he said.

"We are facing a very aggressive and good Chinese space program (...), we have seen them achieve a lot," he said.

He recalled that the Chinese installed a space station in a short period of time, it was the second nation to land a "rover" on Mars, they are preparing the return of samples from that planet and they will have robotic missions to the Moon, among other space advances.

 "They give us indications that they are going to be very aggressive (...), we have every reason to believe that the Chinese are a very aggressive competitor," he reiterated.

Nelson pointed out that one thing is to go 240,000 miles and return, and another is to travel millions and millions of miles. "There is a lot to learn on the Moon to go to Mars," he said.

Among them he mentioned the construction of habitats and the learning of "how we are going to exist for long periods of time in that environment, in order to prepare ourselves to take astronauts to Mars."

The Artemis program has a series of missions planned to use its Space Launch Systems rocket and Orion capsule.

The mission aims to take Orion to the Moon and beyond, to a distance from Earth that ships designed to transport humans have never reached before.

It will not be until Artemis III that the astronauts of the US agency will set foot on the lunar surface and among them will be a woman and a person of color, according to the plans of NASA, which has adopted a policy in favor of diversity and inclusion in its crews.

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