NASA postpones moon landing to 2025

The US space agency NASA has acknowledged that its plan to send astronauts back to the moon must be postponed and will not happen over the next three years.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson spoke to reporters on Tuesday about the Artemis program. He said the first human landing on the lunar surface under Artemis will likely be no earlier than 2025.

The former administration of Donald Trump had set a landing goal of 2024. But NASA now says it is not "technically feasible" partly due to litigation over the contract to build the lunar landing vehicle as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.

NASA plans to carry out an unmanned test flight of the Orion capsule in February 2022, putting it into orbit around the moon.

It says the first manned flight of the spacecraft will come no later than May 2024, which is about one year behind the original schedule.

Nelson expressed a sense of crisis about China, which is rapidly catching up with the United States in space development. China has launched a series of rockets to send astronauts to its own space station.

Nelson expressed his resolve to achieve a manned lunar landing earlier than rival countries.