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The Artemis I Mega Moon rocket has reached launch launch, and this time, it’s to take off on a trip around the moon.
Engineers and technicians have been busy with the final checks and tests of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rocket stack made a pair of launch trips in March and June for the wet dress rehearsal, a test that simulated each launch step without lifting off.
This is how NASA wants to send humans back to the moon
On Tuesday night, the real event began.
The Artemis team is targeting its first two-hour launch window from 8:33 a.m. ET to 10:33 a.m. ET on Monday, August 29. There are backup release windows on September 2 and September 5.
The massive 322-foot-tall (98-meter-tall) stack embarked on a slow 4-mile (6.4-kilometer) journey aboard one of NASA’s giant Apollo-era trackers from the assembly building to the launch pad, just like the shuttle. Apollo missions and Saturn v rockets once did.
The 6.6 million-pound (3 million-kilogram) crawler carried the rocket tower and its mobile launcher to a top speed of 1 mile per hour (1.6 kilometers per hour). The rocket stack arrived at the launch pad at 7:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday morning after a journey of nearly 10 hours.
The iconic Crawler is one of two that have operated for more than 50 years at the Kennedy Space Center. Massive transporters were first put into use in 1965 and can each carry 18 million pounds (8.2 million kilograms), or the weight of more than 20 fully loaded 777 jets, according to NASA. The crawlers are so wide that a professional baseball diamond could sit on top of each one.
Now that the rocket stack has arrived, engineers and technicians will prepare the rocket’s systems for launch.
The unplaced Artemis in which I will launch a mission that goes beyond the moon and back to earth. Once launched, the spacecraft will reach a distant retrograde orbit around the moon, traveling 1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometers) over the course of 42 days. Artemis I will land in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego on October 10. Orion’s return will be faster and hotter than any spacecraft has experienced on its way back to Earth.
The Orion spacecraft will travel further than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown, reaching 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers) beyond the far side of the moon, according to NASA.
There are no humans on board, but Orion will carry 120 pounds (54.4 kilograms) of memorabilia, including toys, Apollo 11 items and three mannequins.
Sitting in the Orion commander’s seat will be Commander Moonikin Campos, a suitable mannequin who can collect data on what future human crews might experience on a lunar voyage. The mannequin will wear the new Orion Crew Survival System suit designed for astronauts to wear during launch and re-entry. The suit has two radiation sensors.
Two “ghosts” named Helga and Zohar will travel in other seats of Orion. These mannequin torsos are made from materials that mimic a woman’s soft tissues, organs, and bones. The two torsos have more than 5,600 sensors and 34 radiation detectors to measure how much radiation exposure occurs during spaceflight.
This mission will kick off NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to land humans on the moon and bring the first woman and first person of color to the lunar surface by 2025, eventually ushering in human exploration of Mars. .
Artemis will also carry a number of science experiments, some of which will be installed once the rocket and spacecraft reach the launch pad.