NASA Delays Artemis; First Woman Won’t Touch Moon Until 2026

The ambitious Artemis project to carry the first woman to the Moon hit snags in recent testing. Artemis III is now grounded until September 2026, a delay of nearly a year. Artemis II, a preliminary trip around the Moon, is similarly rescheduled for September 2025.

Originally, Artemis II was to launch this November. But officials called for a delay after identifying technical issues with a battery and wiring, NASA revealed in a news release.

The delays come amid an ongoing investigation into unexpected damage to a spacecraft on a previous mission phase. Several pieces of the Orion spacecraft’s heat shield broke off during the re-entry of Artemis I last December.

“The safety of our astronauts is NASA’s top priority,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

NASA added that the delay gives Artemis’ private industry partners — such as SpaceX and Blue Origin — more time to deliver on their human landing designs. Axiom Space, which is developing the astronauts’ next-generation spacesuits, may likewise welcome a little breathing room.

Meanwhile, the astronauts — including mission specialist Christina Koch, the prospective first woman on the moon — will wait it out.

a woman in a spacesuit in front of an american flag

Christina Koch, NASA astronaut since 2013. Photo: NASA

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents’ evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.