A British man or woman could go to the moon within the next few decades after NASA hinted that one of its “international partners” would have a future astronaut’s seat.
US space agency executives, including administrator Bill Nelson, are currently in the UK negotiating with their British counterparts about the country’s participation in NASA’s Artemis lunar missions.
British companies are helping to build service and accommodation modules for the planned Lunar Gateway space station, which will orbit the moon and serve as an “outpost” for astronauts when humans return to the lunar surface later this decade.
Nelson said the first two astronauts to return to the moon in 2025 will be Americans and will include “the first woman and probably the next man” to walk on the lunar surface.
They will be the first people to do so in over 50 years.
Excitement: A British man or woman could walk on the moon for the next few decades after NASA hinted that one of its “international partners” would have a future astronaut’s seat. Pictured is Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969.
British firms helping build the planned Lunar Gateway station (shown from artist’s cast)
Flying the flag: Seven British astronauts have been in space, including Tim Peake in 2015 and the first Brit, Helen Sharman (pictured left) in 1991.
US space agency executives, including Administrator Bill Nelson and his deputy Pamela Melroy (both top center), are currently in the UK negotiating with their British counterparts over the country’s participation in NASA’s Artemis lunar missions.
LUNAR GATEWAY: SPACE STATION AROUND THE MOON
International space nations participating in the International Space Station have targeted the Moon for the next space station.
As part of a NASA-led project, the Lunar Gate will be built in orbit around the moon as part of the Artemis mission.
International space nations participating in the International Space Station have set their sights on the Moon as the next space station.
The agreement, signed in September 2017, is part of a long-term project to send humans to Mars.
The crewed spaceport will orbit the Moon and serve as a “gateway to deep space and the lunar surface,” NASA said.
The first modules of the station can be built as early as 2026.
Europe, Japan and Russia are also participating in the Gateway project.
The European Space Agency will build its own service and habitation modules with the help of British companies.
Nelson’s deputy Pamela Melroy also added that there would be space for an astronaut later on a future mission from one of NASA’s partners.
She said: “I’m very confident that we will have an international partner because they are contributing to the construction of the Gateway … but we have not yet decided when they will go to the surface.”
Currently, Tim Peake, who spent six months on the International Space Station from 2015 to 2016, is the only Briton on the European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut list.
However, it is clear that several British challengers did before the final stages of selection for the next group of ESA astronauts, due to be announced this year.
Nelson and Melroy with Paul Bate, chief executive of the UK space agency, at the Farnborough International Air Show this week.
Bate said he was honored to welcome the two NASA bosses and added that there would be “additional opportunities.” [for UK involvement] how the program comes to life.
NASA’s ambitious Artemis project plans to build a lunar base later this decade, along with Gateway Station, due to be built between the first and second crewed landings starting in 2026.
Most of the station will be built by commercial partners and will have a docking port for SpaceX The Starship lunar lander, which will take astronauts between the orbital base and the surface of the moon.
The Lunar Gateway is a major part of the Artemis missions, during which NASA will land the first woman and the first colored astronaut on the Moon.
Later this year, the US space agency plans to send dummies into space as part of the Artemis I mission.
NASA’s Artemis project plans to build a lunar base by the end of this decade, as well as a Gateway station due to be built between the first and second crewed landings starting in 2026.
The Gateway Orbital Laboratory will have a capacity of four and NASA will work with some of the existing International Space Station partners, including Europe, Japan and Canada.
Currently, Tim Peake (pictured), who spent six months on the International Space Station from 2015 to 2016, is the only Briton on the European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut list.
The next steps to do so are scheduled to be discussed at the 4:00 pm BST (11:00 am ET) teleconference commemorating the 53rd anniversary of Neil Armstrong becoming the first man to walk on the moon.
Artemis I will pave the way for crewed flights – Artemis II, which will launch in May 2024 and fly past the Moon without landing on it, and Artemis III, which will actually land on the lunar surface.
Artemis III, which will be launched “no earlier than 2025”, will be the first spacecraft to land humans on the Moon in more than 50 years, starting with Apollo 17 in December 1972.
All 12 people who have walked on the moon are Americans. Seven British-born astronauts have flown into space, including Peake in 2015 and Britain’s first Helen Sharman in 1991.
NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon in 2025 as part of the Artemis mission.
Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and the goddess of the moon in Greek mythology.
NASA chose her to represent their return journey to the Moon, which will take astronauts back to the lunar surface by 2025, including the first woman and the next man.
Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly challenging missions that will allow humans to explore the Moon and Mars.
Artemis 1 will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s Deep Space Exploration System: Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, and ground systems at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Artemis 1 will be an unmanned flight that will lay the foundation for human exploration of deep space and demonstrate our commitment and ability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond.
During this flight, the spacecraft will launch the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown.
It will fly 280,000 miles (450,600 km) from the Earth, thousands of miles from the Moon over a roughly three-week mission.
Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly challenging missions that will allow humans to explore the Moon and Mars. This drawing explains the different stages of the mission.
Orion will stay in space longer than any astronaut ship without docking to a space station and will return home faster and hotter than ever before.
With this first exploration mission, NASA will spearhead the next phases of human deep space exploration, where astronauts will build and begin testing systems near the Moon needed for missions to the Moon’s surface and exploration of other places far from Earth, including Mars.
The crew will take a different trajectory and test important Orion systems with humans on board.
Together, Orion, SLS, and ground systems at Kennedy will be able to meet the most demanding crew and cargo needs in deep space.
Ultimately, NASA aims to have a sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2028 as a result of the Artemis mission.
The space agency hopes this colony will unlock new scientific discoveries, showcase new technological advances, and lay the foundation for private companies that will build the lunar economy.