CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Astronauts will have to wait until next year before flying to the moon and at least two years before landing on it, under the latest round of delays announced by NASA on Tuesday.
The space agency had planned to send four astronauts around the moon late this year, but pushed the flight to September 2025. The first human moon landing in more than 50 years also got bumped, from 2025 to September 2026. NASA cited safety concerns with its own spacecraft, as well as development issues with the moonsuits and landers coming from private industry.
“Safety is our top priority,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. The delays will “give Artemis teams more time to work through the challenges.”
The news came barely an hour after a Pittsburgh company abandoned its own attempt to land its spacecraft on the moon because of a mission-ending fuel leak.
Launched Monday as part of NASA's commercial lunar program, Astrobotic Technology's Peregrine lander was supposed to serve as a scout for the astronauts. A Houston company will give it a shot with its own lander next month.
NASA is relying heavily on private companies for its Artemis moon-landing program for astronauts, named after the mythological twin sister of Apollo.
SpaceX's Starship mega rocket will be needed to get the first Artemis moonwalkers from lunar orbit down to the surface and back up. But the nearly 400-foot (121-meter) rocket has launched…