NASA names new moon landing program Artemis after Apollo's sister
By Robert Z. Pearlman
May 14, 2019, 3:03:34 PM EDT
Half a century after NASA sent men to the moon under project "Apollo," the space agency is now working to land men — and women — on the lunar surface as part of its "Artemis" program.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine revealed the new moniker on Monday (May 13) during a call with reporters that was primarily focused on the budget for the newly named moon program.
"It turns out that Apollo had a twin sister, Artemis. She happens to be the goddess of the moon," said Bridenstine, referring to Greek mythology. "Our astronaut office is very diverse and highly qualified. I think it is very beautiful that 50 years after Apollo, the Artemis program will carry the next man — and the first woman — to the moon."
The Artemis program, which was previously only referred to by its component names — including the Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket, Orion crew vehicle and Gateway lunar outpost— began when President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1 in 2017, directing NASA to return astronauts to the moon.
Two years later, in March 2019, Vice President Mike Pence further defined the program by announcing a five-year deadline for the first crewed lunar landing. The 2024 mission, he said, should land at the south pole with the "first woman and the next man on the moon."
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