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Artemis 4

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Artemis 4
Summary of the Artemis 4 mission plan
Mission typeGateway Assembly, lunar landing
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftOrion (spacecraft)
Start of mission
Launch dateSeptember 2028 (planned)[1]
RocketSLS Block 1B (Orion)
Launch siteKennedy Space Center, LC-39B
End of mission
Landing sitePacific Ocean (planned)

Artemis 4 (officially Artemis IV) is a planned mission of the NASA-led Artemis program. The mission will include the fourth use of a Space Launch System (SLS) launch vehicle, will send an Orion spacecraft with four astronauts to the Lunar Gateway space station, install a new module on the Gateway, and conduct the second lunar landing of the Artemis program.[2]


The mission will deliver and install the International Habitation Module (I-Hab) of the Lunar Gateway space station. I-Hab is being developed by the European Space Agency and the Japanese space agency JAXA. The mission will dock I-Hab to the first Gateway elements, the Power and Propulsion Element and Habitation and Logistics Outpost.

After docking, astronauts will board a Starship HLS (HLS) vehicle also docked to the station. They will descend to the lunar surface in the HLS lander for a multi-day site inspection.[3]

Artemis IV will be the first flight of the Block 1B version of the Space Launch System. For Block 1B the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage used on SLS Block 1 will be replaced with the more powerful Exploration Upper Stage, increasing the rocket's trans-lunar injection capability from >27 t (60,000 lb), to >42 t (93,000 lb). This increased performance allows I-Hab to be launched together with the Orion spacecraft.

As of March 2023, Artemis IV is scheduled to launch no earlier than September 2028.[1]


A large orange and white rocket launching off pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center beside a tall steel support tower
Rendering of the Space Launch System Block 1B launching
Prime crew
Position Astronaut
Commander United States TBA, NASA
TBA spaceflight
Pilot United States TBA, NASA
TBA spaceflight
Mission Specialist Europe TBA, ESA
TBA spaceflight
Payload specialist United States TBA, NASA
TBA spaceflight



Space Launch System[edit]

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 first Artemis mission to use an SLS Block 1B rocket with an advanced Exploration Upper Stage for four upcoming missions until the proposed Artemis 9, which will use SLS Block 2 with advanced boosters.[5]

Orion spacecraft with outfitted interior (2021)

Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle[edit]

Orion is the crew transport vehicle used by all Artemis missions. It comprises the Orion Crew Module and the European Service Module and will transport the crew from Earth to the Gateway orbit, dock to the Gateway, deliver the I-Hab module to the Gateway, and return them back to Earth.[6]


The Lunar Gateway Phase 1 orbiting the Moon

Gateway is a small modular space station to be established in Near-rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO) in late 2024.[7] The first two Gateway elements (Power and Propulsion Element and the Habitation and Logistics Outpost) will launch together aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy and spend a year spiraling out to the near-rectilinear halo orbit around the Moon prior to Artemis IV.[8]

Human Landing System[edit]

Current Artemis IV mission plans call for use of the SpaceX Starship HLS Option B configuration to support the lunar landing and return to Gateway phase of the mission.[9]

Mobile Launcher 2[edit]

The heavier total mass of the SLS Block 1B vehicle requires use of the Mobile Launcher-2 ground support equipment. Current development schedules and challenges experienced by the ML-2 contractor team in the design and delivery of the system have placed this GSE on the critical path from a schedule perspective.[10] Delays to ML-2 availability for use will delay launch of the SLS Block 1B variant. The NASA Office of Inspectior General (OIG) estimates the earliest that ML-2 will be available for Artemis IV is November 2026.[10]


  1. ^ a b Foust, Jeff (13 March 2023). "NASA planning to spend up to $1 billion on space station deorbit module". SpaceNews. Retrieved 13 March 2023.
  2. ^ Foust, Jeff (20 January 2022). "NASA foresees gap in lunar landings after Artemis 3". SpaceNews. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  3. ^ Foust, Jeff (30 October 2022). "Lunar landing restored for Artemis 4 mission". SpaceNews. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  4. ^ Foust, Jeff (26 September 2022). "NASA and ESA sign lunar cooperation statement". SpaceNews. Retrieved 12 October 2022.
  5. ^ "SLS Block 1 Crew, Block 1B Crew, Block 1B Cargo and Block 2 Cargo Evolution". NASA. 21 August 2020. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  6. ^ Rincon, Paul (10 November 2021). "NASA's Orion spacecraft: A guide". BBC. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  7. ^ Brown, Mike (15 March 2022). "NASA Lunar Gateway: Launch Window, Specs, and Orbit of the Moon's Space Station". Inverse. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  8. ^ Foust, Jeff (10 February 2021). "NASA selects Falcon Heavy to launch first Gateway elements". SpaceNews. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  9. ^ "Artemis 4 mission will still involve landing on the Moon". Universe Space Tech. 31 October 2022. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  10. ^ a b Smith, Marcia (9 June 2022). "NASA IG Slams Bechtel on Mobile Launcher 2". Space Policy Online. Retrieved 3 December 2022.

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