Artemis 1 – humanity returns to the moon. The most important information about the SLS rocket and the NASA mission
Tomorrow, November 16, the Artemis 1 mission is to begin – the first installment of a new project of NASA and its international partners, thanks to which mankind will eventually return to the moon. The American agency gave the green light for the launch of a powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rocket; this one escaped unscathed from Hurricane Nicole, which hit Florida a few days ago. This will be the third launch attempt of the super-heavy launch vehicle; the previous two, from August 29 and September 3, were finally suspended. Let us recall that the SLS is to launch the Orion spacecraft into the lunar orbit, laying the foundations for the next manned missions planned for 2024 and 2025. In the third of them, astronauts will set foot on the Earth’s natural satellite.
Artemis 1 – when does it start? [Godzina]
The launch window for the Artemis 1 mission will open on November 16 at 10:00 AM 7:04 Polish time and will last for the next 2 hours, until 9:04. In other words: if everything goes according to plan, the SLS rocket at 7:04 should start the engines at Kennedy Space Center launch complex 39B – the same from which the legendary Saturn V rocket was launched during the Apollo lunar missions. NASA also provided backup launch dates – November 19 and 25.
Artemis 1 – where to watch the start of SLS? [Transmisja online]
NASA will broadcast the SLS rocket launch online in several locations. We’ll be able to watch it on agency websiteon her social profiles on Facebook and Twitteras well as in mobile application. During the broadcast, various guests will appear – including the on-screen Captain America, Chris Evans. In turn, today, November 15 at 21:30 Polish time, on the above-mentioned channels and portal space.com we will see the SLS refueling process.
Artemis 1 – launch process
Four engines of the Main Stage (RS-25) and two SRB side rockets will be responsible for the launch of the SLS rocket – the latter after about 2 minutes of flight will exhaust the solid fuel contained in them and separate from the rest of the SLS. In the 8th minute and 14th second of the ascent, the Main Stage responsible for this process for the last 6 minutes will finally do its job and at an altitude of 157 km it will also detach from the rocket. The further flight of the Orion ship located at the very top of the structure will be the responsibility of the ICPS unit, which will start its engine about an hour after launch to put Orion into Earth orbit; after another 30 minutes, maneuvers will begin to set the appropriate trajectory for the flight to the Moon. They will last about half an hour — 2 hours after launch, ICPS will also bid farewell to Orion, allowing it to travel alone towards our satellite.
Artemis 1 – mission progress. When will the Orion ship return to Earth?
The entire Artemis 1 mission will last exactly 25 days, 11 hours and 36 minutes. The first 5 days will take the arrival to the Moon, from November 21, for the next 5 days, the Orion ship will enter the final orbit around the moon, where it will finally be on November 26. On December 1, Orion will leave said orbit, and on December 5 it will start its journey towards Earth. The mission will end on December 11, when the ship is scheduled to launch in the Pacific Ocean.
Artemis 1 – mission objectives
The primary objective of the Artemis 1 mission is to test the Orion spacecraft’s heat shield as it breaks through the atmosphere on its return to Earth. NASA also wants to test the procedures for recovering Orion from the Pacific. It is worth emphasizing, however, that the entire mission will be the first real test for the SLS rocket, without which humanity will not be able to return to the moon in future missions of the Artemis program.
SLS – information about the rocket
The Space Launch System is a super-heavy launch vehicle, the initial design of which was presented by NASA in 2011. The entire cost of its development was from USD 7 billion to USD 35 million, while the cost of its one-time launch is estimated at USD 500 million. At the launch of the Artemis 1 SLS mission, it will become the most powerful rocket currently used in the space industry. In its first version (Block 1), it measures 98 meters in height and is able to carry 95 tons into low Earth orbit, and nearly 27 tons into lunar orbit. In the most advanced version (Block 2), the SLS is expected to carry 130 tons to Earth orbit – and 46 tons to the Moon’s orbit.
Orion – information about the ship
The Orion capsule consists of 3 basic elements: the crew module), responsible, among others, for for the power and communication of the European Service Module and the Launch Abort System (LAS) turret, which is designed to separate Orion from the rocket in the event of problems with the SLS. We already know that only the manned capsule will return to Earth from the Artemis 1 mission.
Orion – distance record
During the Artemis 1 mission, the Orion ship will be as many as 450,000 times a day. km from Earth and 64 thousand. km behind the Moon, which will make it the farthest manned spacecraft from our planet in history – the record so far held by Apollo 13 (mission from April 1970).
Artemis program – next missions
If the Artemis 1 mission is successful, in 2024 (probably at the end of the year), the Artemis 2 mission will begin, during which a 4-man crew aboard the Orion spacecraft will circle the Moon. In 2025, Artemis 3 will start; Two astronauts out of a crew of four will set foot on the moon for the first time since the 1972 Apollo 17 mission – NASA had previously announced that one of those people would be a woman.