NASA targets February for Artemis 1, first mission to return to the Moon

After years of waiting, the program is becoming clear: NASA announced Friday that it will target February for the take-off of its Artemis 1 mission, the first of the American return to the Moon program.

This mission, which was initially planned before the end of the year, will mark the actual launch of the Artemis program, which should allow the United States to return humans to the Moon, including the first woman.

This first test flight will be done without an astronaut on board: NASA’s new giant rocket, called the SLS, will have to propel the Orion capsule toward the Moon before returning to Earth.

“The February launch window opens on the 12th and our last chance in February is on the 27th,” mission chief Mike Sarafin said in a press conference.

If necessary, especially if the machine is not ready in time, other launch windows are planned in March (from 12 to 27) and April (from 8 to 23).

The rocket was fully assembled with Orion on Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. It is about 100 meters high.

Mike Sarafin commented, “This is a very important step. It shows that we are at the home of the mission.”

The thrower will be brought to the shooting range for dress rehearsals in early January. The vehicle’s tanks will be filled with fuel, and a false countdown will be performed.

The exact date of the flight will be announced after this test.

If this happens during the first part of the launch window in February, the mission would last about six weeks. But if it is the second half, the ship will spend only four weeks in space, Sarafin said.

See also  A horror film in which Animal Crossing revolves around a video game

– Selfie with Moon –

In March, SLS successfully conducted a static test of its engines (known as “hot fire”) in Mississippi, before moving the machine to Florida.

Orion has flown into space for the first time, in 2014, at the time launched by a Delta IV rocket. He had made two visits to Earth, specifically to test his heat shield upon return to the atmosphere.

But this time, “when we come back from the Moon, it will be much faster and the temperatures will be much higher,” Mike Sarafin said.

Artemis 1 has several purposes, he elaborated: to show Orion’s ability to return from the Moon, to operate in deep space where it is “much cooler than in low Earth orbit”, as well as to ship the ship. to recover successfully.

“Bonus” objectives are also planned, such as studying radiation for the next astronauts who will travel that far, or even… taking a selfie of the capsule with the Moon in the background.

NASA officials on Friday did not want to say whether the Artemis 2 mission’s schedule would be revised.

At the moment, this second mission is scheduled to take place in 2023 and this time it will involve astronauts. But they won’t land.

During Artemis 3, the astronauts will once again step on the Moon. The planned date was initially 2024, a deadline that now seems almost impossible to meet.

You May Also Like

About the Author: Tad Fisher

Prone to fits of apathy. Music specialist. Extreme food enthusiast. Amateur problem solver.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *