NASA’s ambitious Artemis 1 lunar mission will return to the pad, one last time, before launch.
the Artemis 1 will make the approximately 4-mile (6.4-kilometer) trip from the Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Complex 39B on August 18, POT confirmed on Friday (Aug 5). The launch will keep Artemis 1 on track to launch on a week-long unmanned trip around the moon no sooner than August 29.
Artemis 1 will put the space launch system (SLS) mega rocket and orion spaceship through its steps to ensure reliability before astronauts make a similar trip years from now, some even reaching the lunar surface, if NASA’s plans come to fruition.
Next release follows intense system certifications and more than a decade of planning.
“Our teams have been working extremely hard for a long, long time to get to this point,” Rick LaBrode, Artemis 1 principal flight director at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, said in a broadcast briefing. live on friday. The mission, he added, “is very special. We are very excited.”
Artemis 1 will mark the first launch for the SLS and only the second for Orion, which entered Earth orbit in 2014. If all goes according to plan on August 29, the SLS will roar through the atmosphere to reach orbit in just 8 ,5 minutes. The upper stage of the massive rocket will deploy Orion into a translunar injection orbit 80 to 90 minutes after liftoff.
Those milestones will kick off 42 action-packed days in space for Orion, assuming liftoff occurs on August 29. (The time of the mission changes slightly depending on the release date.)
“There’s really no time to catch your breath. We really got going,” said Judd Frieling, Artemis 1 climb and entry flight director at JSC.
As Orion rises toward the moon, the SLS upper stage will be tasked with deploying cubesats for the moon and other sciences while pushing itself into an orbit around the sun.
Orion will target a moon retrograde orbit. She will stay there for several weeks, then be assisted by the moon’s gravity for the return trip to Earth.
The spacecraft has three main targets on Artemis 1, each designed to show resistance. Mission team members want Orion to prove it can return through Earth’s atmosphere safely, can work consistently in a “flight environment” from launch to splashdown, and can keep astronauts safe indoors during recovery after returning home.
Outreach activities, such as taking selfies of its solar panels, will attempt to keep the public engaged throughout the long journey (as Orion’s data transfer rates from deep space allow).
For example: “When we get to the point where we’re really farther than any human-rated spacecraft, farther than any of the Apollo vehicles, we want to capture that at a public affairs event,” LaBrode said.
The last big milestone of the Orion mission will be a high speed reentry through Earth’s atmosphere, aiming for a splashdown site off the coast of San Diego. You will descend into the Pacific Ocean by parachute and, just before arriving, you will perform a “landing orientation” maneuver to glide into the ocean waves at the correct angle.
There, the vehicle’s power will remain on for about two hours to test how well Orion keeps cool for astronauts. A US Navy ship will then retrieve Orion, fishing the spacecraft out of the water, NASA officials said.
After the mission, there will be months of analysis to ensure that SLS and Orion are ready to transport humans. The current schedule calls for Artemis 2 to lift a crew into lunar orbit in 2024 and Artemis 3, the first human lunar landing mission since apollo 17 in 1972, to land on the surface no earlier than 2025.