Artemis – Return to the Moon

This is the first in a series, leading to the return of astronauts to the Moon in 2024.

In Greek mythology, Artemis is the goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, and the moon. The daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo.


The Artemis program is a United States-led international human spaceflight program with mission objectives of returning astronauts to the Moon, landing the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, establishing an expedition base with a long-term human presence on the Moon, and laying the foundation for crewed missions to Mars and beyond.

Artemis I, an unmanned flight of the next generation of spacecraft, will lay the foundation for future missions. Launching in early 2022, Artemis I will utilize the Space Launch System super heavy-lift launch vehicle (SLS) to lift the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (Orion) out of Earth’s gravity.

The SLS, a smaller yet more powerful rocket than the Saturn V rocket, consists of four internal RS-25 engines combined with two external solid rocket boosters. When the engines and boosters are at full throttle, the SLS provides over 5 million pounds of thrust.

Orion will orbit about 62 miles above the lunar surface for 6 days before it begins the return to Earth. Orion will travel farther from Earth than any human spacecraft, about 280,000 miles from Earth with a total flight distance of more than 1.3 million miles.

NASA, with its commercial and international partners, will establish the first long-term presence on the Moon with the Artemis program. The lunar base established by the Artemis program will focus on scientific investigations and exploration of the lunar surface, as well as developing the skills and technologies to travel to Mars and beyond.

To learn more about the Artemis program, the Apollo program, and NASA’s history from the beginning to the future, book a hotel in Webster and plan a visit to Space Center Houston, the Official Visitors Center of the Johnson Space Center.

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