Artemis I will be on its way to the moon and back for launch, NASA says
The Artemis I mission is ready for launch.
This is the result of NASA’s Flight Readiness Review conducted on Monday. The review was an in-depth assessment of the readiness of the 322-foot-tall (98-meter-tall) stack, which includes the Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft, currently sitting on the launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. .
Artemis Team Monday, August 29 at 8:33 a.m. ET to 10:33 a.m. ET is targeting a launch window of the first two hours. There are backup launch windows on September 2nd and September 5th.
A “go” after a flight readiness review is a positive sign that things are on track for a mission, but there are a few factors that could affect getting off the pad, including inclement weather, over the next week.
Little remained on the task list after the rocket’s previous test rounds on the launchpad during wet dress rehearsals, which simulated each step of the launch. Mike Sarafin, NASA’s Artemis mission manager, said there remains one open object the team will test on launch day.
The hydrogen kick start, which is used to thermally condition the engine, did not occur during the final wet dress rehearsal, so the procedure is now a component of the launch countdown. The test will take place during the “quiet point” ahead of the final countdown, said Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Artemis I launch director at Kennedy Space Center.
The rocket stack arrived at the launchpad on Aug. 17 after a 4-mile (6.4-kilometer) ride from the Vehicle Assembly Building on one of the giant Apollo-era NASA crawlers — as the shuttle missions and Apollo Saturn V rockets once did. .
The unbuilt Artemis I will launch on a mission that will travel beyond the Moon and return to Earth. Once it’s launched, the spacecraft will reach a far retrograde orbit around the moon, traveling 1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometers) over a period of 42 days. Artemis I will go down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego on October 10. Orion’s return to Earth will be faster and hotter than any spacecraft has ever experienced.
According to NASA, the Orion spacecraft will travel farther than any spacecraft ever built for humans, reaching 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers) beyond the far side of the moon.
There are no humans on board, but Orion will carry 120 pounds (54.4 kilograms) of memorabilia, including toys, Apollo 11 objects and three statues.
Sitting in Orion’s commander’s seat will be Commander Mooneykin Campos, a utility mannequin that can collect data on what future human crews might experience on a trip to the moon. 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.
The mission will kick off NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the moon and land the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface by 2025 — and eventually pave the way for human exploration of Mars.
Artemis I will also conduct a number of science experiments, some of which are set up after the rockets and spacecraft arrive at the launch pad.
This week, the Artemis team will open the hatch once again to install a plush Snoopy toy to Orion, which will serve as the mission’s zero gravity indicator. After the spacecraft reaches the microgravity atmosphere of space, the Snoopy crew floats away from the capsule.
Bob Cabana, associate administrator at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC, reflected on watching the Apollo 13 launch as a young midshipman at the US Naval Academy.
“I never dreamed that I would be the director of the Kennedy Space Center or an astronaut in the position I am now,” Cabana said. “I’m a product of the Apollo generation and look at what he did for us. And I can’t wait to see what comes from the Artemis generation because I think it’s going to inspire even more than Apollo. It was rewarding to be able to see and learn about all that work during the review today. That we are ready to do this.”