Artemis III
Artemis III Mission profile 2025.jpg
Summary of the Artemis III mission plan
NamesExploration Mission-3 (2017–2019)
Mission typeCrewed lunar landing
Mission duration~30 days[1]
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftOrion 004
Starship HLS
Start of mission
Launch dateDecember 2025 (planned)[4]
RocketSLS Block 1 (Orion)[5]
Launch siteKennedy Space Center, LC-39B
End of mission
Landing sitePacific Ocean (planned)
Moon lander
Landing siteSouth polar region

Artemis 3 (officially Artemis III)[6] is planned as the first crewed Moon landing mission of the Artemis program and the first crewed flight of the Starship HLS lander.[7] Scheduled for launch in December 2025, Artemis 3 is planned to be the second crewed Artemis mission and the first crewed lunar landing since Apollo 17 in December 1972.[4]


The Artemis III plan is to land a crew at the Moon's south polar region.[8] It is planned to have two astronauts on the surface of the Moon for about one week.[9] The mission is intended to be the first to place a woman and a non-white person on the Moon.[10][11] While up to four astronauts would leave Earth on board Orion MPCV, the surface mission with the Human Landing System (HLS) will consist of two crew members, who will remain on the surface for 6.5 days. The remaining astronauts will stay on board Orion. The two astronauts will conduct up to four spacewalks on the Moon's surface, performing a variety of scientific observations, including sampling water ice. Before the Artemis III landing, some additional equipment will be pre-positioned on the surface, including an unpressurized rover for astronauts to use during their lunar excursions. This rover will have the capability to be controlled remotely. Several permanently shadowed regions could be reached by short forays of 5 to 15 km (3.1 to 9.3 mi), well within the range of the rover.[12]


Space Launch System

Main article: Space Launch System

The Space Launch System is a super-heavy-lift launcher used to launch the Orion spacecraft from Earth to a trans-lunar orbit. This will be the final mission using SLS Block 1, the design used for the first three missions. Afterward, from Artemis 4, until the proposed Artemis 8, all Space Launch System and Artemis missions will use SLS Block 1B, with an expanded Exploration Upper Stage, and a cargo hold to transport other payloads.


Main article: Orion (spacecraft)

Orion is the crew transport vehicle used by all Artemis crewed missions. It will transport the crew from Earth to the Gateway orbit, and return them back to Earth. It has a crew capacity of 4, and may also be utilized to carry crew and cargo in deep space exploration.

Starship HLS, depot, and tankers

Main article: Starship HLS

Artemis III Concept of Operations
Artemis III Concept of Operations

After a multi-phase design effort, on 16 April 2021, NASA selected SpaceX to develop Starship HLS and deliver it to NRHO prior to arrival of the crew for use on the Artemis 3 mission. The delivery requires that Starship HLS be refueled in low Earth orbit (LEO) before boosting to the NRHO, and this refueling requires a pre-positioned propellant depot in LEO that is filled by multiple tanker flights.[13] Two astronauts will transfer from Orion to Starship HLS, which will descend to the lunar surface and sustain them for several days before returning them to Orion. Following the return of the astronauts, Starship HLS will be disposed of by sending it into heliocentric orbit.[14]


Further information: Artemis program § History

Upon the December 2017 ratification of the Trump administration's Space Policy Directive 1, a crewed lunar campaign – later known as the Artemis program – utilising the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) and a space station in lunar orbit was established. Originally billed as Exploration Mission-3 (EM-3), the goal of the mission was to send four astronauts into a near-rectilinear halo orbit around the Moon and deliver the ESPRIT and U.S. Utilization Module to the lunar space station, known as the Gateway.[15] By May 2019 however, ESPRIT and the U.S. Utilization Module – now called HALO – were re-manifested to fly separately on a commercial launch vehicle instead. Artemis 3, as it was now billed, was repurposed to accelerate the first crewed lunar landing of the Artemis program by the end of 2024, with a profile that would've seen the Orion MPCV rendezvous with a minimal Gateway made up of only the Power and Propulsion Element and a small habitat/docking node with an attached commercially-procured lunar lander known as the Human Landing System (HLS).[16]

By early 2020, plans for Orion and the HLS to rendezvous with the Gateway were abandoned in favour of a solo demonstration of Orion and HLS, and delivery of the Gateway after Artemis 3.[17][18]

On 10 August 2021, an Office of Inspector General audit reported a conclusion that the spacesuits would not be ready until April 2025 at the earliest, likely delaying the mission from the planned late 2024 launch date.[19]

On 9 November 2021, the Administrator of NASA Bill Nelson confirmed that Artemis 3 will take place no earlier than 2025.[20]

As of March 2023, Artemis 3 is scheduled to launch no earlier than December 2025.[4]


  1. ^ Gebhardt, Chris (22 September 2017). "SLS EM-1 and EM-2 launch dates realign; EM-3 gains notional mission outline". Archived from the original on 2 October 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  2. ^ Berger, Eric (16 April 2021). "NASA selects SpaceX as its sole provider for a lunar lander - "We looked at what's the best value to the government"". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 17 April 2021. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  3. ^ Brown, Katherine (16 April 2021). "As Artemis Moves Forward, NASA Picks SpaceX to Land Next Americans on Moon". NASA. Archived from the original on 16 April 2021. Retrieved 17 April 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ a b c Foust, Jeff (13 March 2023). "NASA planning to spend up to $1 billion on space station deorbit module". SpaceNews. Retrieved 13 March 2023.
  5. ^ Loff, Sarah (16 October 2019). "NASA Commits to Future Artemis Missions With More SLS Rocket Stages". NASA. Archived from the original on 20 January 2021. Retrieved 16 October 2019. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  6. ^ Artemis : brand book (Report). Washington, D.C.: NASA. 2019. NP-2019-07-2735-HQ. MISSION NAMING CONVENTION. While Apollo mission patches used numbers and roman numerals throughout the program, Artemis mission names will use a roman numeral convention.
  7. ^ Potter, Sean (23 March 2022). "NASA Provides Update to Astronaut Moon Lander Plans Under Artemis". NASA. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  8. ^ Chang, Kenneth (25 May 2019). "For Artemis Mission to Moon, NASA Seeks to Add Billions to Budget". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 25 May 2019. Retrieved 25 May 2019. Under the NASA plan, a mission to land on the Moon would take place during the third launch of the Space Launch System. Astronauts, including the first woman to walk on the Moon, Jim Bridenstine said, would first stop at the orbiting lunar outpost. They would then take a lander to the surface near its south pole, where frozen water exists within the craters.
  9. ^ Foust, Jeff (21 July 2019). "NASA outlines plans for lunar lander development through commercial partnerships". SpaceNews. Archived from the original on 1 October 2021. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  10. ^ Howell, Elizabeth (18 August 2022). "NASA's Artemis 3 mission: Landing humans on the moon". Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  11. ^ "NASA unveils schedule for 'Artemis' 2024 Moon mission". France24. 23 May 2019. Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  12. ^ Berger, Eric (29 October 2019). "NASA shares details of lunar surface missions—and they're pretty cool". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 30 March 2021. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  13. ^ Chojnacki, Kent. "Human Landing System" (PDF). NASA.
  14. ^ Foust, Jeff [@jeff_foust] (31 October 2022). "Kirasich: no plans to reuse the Starship for the Artemis 3 landing. Will dispose of it by putting it on heliocentric orbit" (Tweet). Retrieved 31 October 2022 – via Twitter.
  15. ^ Sloss, Philip (4 December 2017). "NASA evaluates EM-2 launch options for Deep Space Gateway PPE". Archived from the original on 9 August 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  16. ^ Grush, Loren (17 May 2019). "NASA administrator on new Moon plan: "We're doing this in a way that's never been done before"". The Verge. Archived from the original on 4 July 2020. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  17. ^ Gohd, Chelsea (16 March 2020). "NASA's "critical path" to the Moon no longer requires a lunar Gateway: Report". Archived from the original on 16 May 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2020. NASA has removed the Lunar Gateway from its "critical path" to return humans to the Moon by 2024, according to a SpaceNews report.
  18. ^ Foust, Jeff (14 May 2020). "NASA refines plans for launching Gateway and other Artemis elements". SpaceNews. Archived from the original on 16 May 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2020. ... Loverro reiterated previous statements that the Gateway will not be used for the Artemis 3 mission that will attempt to land humans on the Moon to "make that mission have a higher probability of success"
  19. ^ "NASA's development of next-generation spacesuits" (PDF). 10 August 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 August 2021. Retrieved 10 August 2021. ... the suits would not be ready for flight until April 2025 at the earliest ... a lunar landing in late 2024 as NASA currently plans is not feasible.
  20. ^ Foust, Jeff (9 November 2021). "NASA delays human lunar landing to at least 2025". SpaceNews. Retrieved 9 November 2021.