Fifty years after Apollo 11, NASA is planning to send two astronauts, a man and a woman, back on the moon with a program called Artemis.
On July 2nd, 2019, NASA has successfully tested the emergency ejection system of the Orion capsule that would take the astronauts back on land in case there is any problem during the ascension. The mission called Ascent Abort-2 was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida and lasted only several minutes. The launcher went to Mach 1,15 and arrived at 9450m in 55 seconds. At this point the ejection started and 27 seconds later the safety tower separated from Orion which then went down straight to the ocean.
As of today, we do not know which launcher will be used. NASA has talked about using its SLS (Space Launch System) that have been ready for a mission in June 2020. However, the making of this spacecraft has been delayed. In order not to postpone the lunar mission scheduled for 2024, NASA might have to use a private rocket such as SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy or the Delta IV Heavy made by United Launch Alliance.
The next step for the Orion capsule is the first mission of the Artemis program, Artemis 1. NASA will use its SLS to complete an uncrewed mission around the moon.