The beauty of space is that we find something new every day and space organizations never fail to amaze us with their discoveries. The NASA Artemis program is one such program designed to explore the lunar surface. Here’s all you need to know about the NASA Artemis 1 mission to the moon.
Table of Contents
- NASA ARTEMIS PROGRAM – Brief Overview
- NASA ARTEMIS PROGRAM – UPCOMING MISSIONS
- Interesting Facts about the NASA Artemis Program
- NASA Artemis Controversy
- NASA Artemis Launch Date and TIME
- Latest Update
- MORE FROM THE AUTHOR
NASA ARTEMIS PROGRAM – Brief Overview
The Artemis mission is a lunar (moon) exploration program led by NASA in collaboration with 3 partner agencies ESA, JAXA, and CSA. This mission will re-establish the human presence on the moon since the 1972 Apollo 17 mission. NASA’s powerful new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), will send astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft nearly a quarter-million miles from Earth to lunar orbit, launching from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL. Astronauts will dock Orion at the Gateway and transfer to a human landing system for missions to the Moon’s surface and safely return to Earth.
NASA ARTEMIS PROGRAM – UPCOMING MISSIONS
Artemis 1 – Test flight
This will be an unmanned test of Orion. This goal is to place Orion into lunar orbit and return to the Earth. The Orion spacecraft will halt into a retrograde distant polar lunar orbit and will remain there for 6 days before returning to the Earth. The Artemis 1 is a 322-foot (98m) test flight and the Orion will orbit the moon before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.
NASA ARTEMIS 1 MISSION MAP
During this flight, the uncrewed Orion spacecraft will launch on the most powerful rocket in the world and travel thousands of miles beyond the Moon, farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown, over the course of about a three-week mission. Here is a detailed map that explains step-by-step how it is going to work.
Artemis 2 – First crew
This mission is planned for 2024. This will be a crewed flight with 4 crew members. This flight will orbit the Moon but will not land on the surface.
Artemis 3 – Moon landing
The Artemis 3 mission will be the first mission to land astronauts on the Moon. The mission depends on a support mission to place a Human Landing System (HLS) in place to a Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO) of the Moon prior to the launch of SLS/Orion.
NASA has chosen Elon Musk’s SpaceX to build the rocket for Artemis 3. The starship in development will serve as a shuttle for this mission. NASA will land a crewed spacecraft on the Moon’s southern pole for the first time, where water in the form of ice has been detected. The crew will spend roughly 6.5 days on the surface. Starting with Artemis 3, NASA has planned to send in crewed flights once a year.
Artemis 4 – Support Mission
Artemis 4 is a crewed mission using an SLS Block 1B to the Lunar Gateway station in NRHO. The first two gateway modules will be delivered to NRHO by a previous support mission. The launch will take place no earlier than 2027.
Artemis 5 and Beyond
Artemis 5 and beyond is planned to land astronauts on the lunar surface, where they will benefit from increasing amounts of infrastructure that support missions will land. Habitats, rovers, scientific instruments, and resource extraction equipment will be among them.
The objective of the Artemis program of NASA is the next giant leap of human exploration of Mars. NASA will use Artemis knowledge to prepare for a trip to Mars by developing next-generation spacesuits, vehicles, propulsion, resupply, and other areas. The goal is to learn how to sustain a human presence in deep space for an extended period of time.
The plan includes establishing a “base camp” on the Moon, where astronauts can stay on the surface for up to 2 months. While a trip to the Moon takes only a few days, a trip to Mars would take at least several months.
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Gateway space station
The Artemis mission will include a proposed construction of a space station called Gateway that will orbit the Moon. The first two elements, the living quarter’s module, and the power and propulsion system, are scheduled to be launched by a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in late 2024. Orion crews would be in charge of Gateway construction.
Astronauts can spend 30 to 60 days in Gateway and will have access to a lander that would allow them to travel to and from the Moon. This Gateway would also serve as a stopping point for any future Mars missions.
Interesting Facts about the NASA Artemis Program
1. Designed for Interplanetary Travel
The SLS is the only rocket with adequate power to launch the Orion crew spaceship to the Moon and beyond. Orion is a huge, heavy spacecraft with room for four astronauts. The crew gets the chance to eat, sleep, work, and spend time on board for months inside the spacecraft, which contains everything needed for space flight.
2. SLS is more powerful than Saturn V
The thrust provided by the rocket engines of the SLS will be greater at approximately 4,000 tonnes. Its power is sufficient to maintain 8 Boeing 747s in the air at once. The mega rocket’s thrust is 15% more powerful than that of Saturn V.
3. Expensive rocket
NASA’s inspector general reported the Artemis campaign costs $93 billion between 2012 and 2025, $4.1 billion for a single launch.
4. Deep space Exploration
The Orion will carry the crew around the far side of the Moon farther than any spacecraft designed for humans has traveled. It will be roughly 280,000 miles (450,600 kilometers) from home.
5. Trip to the Moon
In 2024, NASA will send a rover called VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover) to that region to analyze the landscape. By utilizing water ice on the Moon, NASA hopes to learn how to “live off the land” in an environment with a lot of radiation, vast differences in temperature, dust, and more training ground for living on Mars.
Some people suggest that astronauts live in lava pits on the moon, where they would be safe from many of these hazards. It would be a high-tech return to the cave-dwelling origins of our civilization as we planned expeditions to the Red Planet, perhaps propelled by lunar ice converted into rocket fuel.
NASA Artemis Controversy
Due to multiple launch failures, there has been a lot of controversies and criticisms around the fuel and rocket design as well as the huge budget that is spent on this mission. Several questions have been raised to disclose the planned mission and the launch date.
NASA Artemis Launch Date and TIME
Artemis 1 was supposed to launch in late 2021, but it was pushed back to August 29, 2022. Due to engine sensor issues, the next launch was on September 3. A fuel supply line leak in a quick disconnect arm on a ground tail service mast caused an additional delay between September 23 and October 4. While the leak was partially repaired, weather delays due to Hurricane Ian canceled the launch window.
Artemis 1 also faced the storm Nicole and managed to stay still even after leaving it open in the heavy winds. Weather permitting, the mission will launch on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, at 1:04 a.m. EST. It’s a two-hour window that would mean the mission lasts 25 days. NASA also announced a backup launch opportunity on Saturday, November 17 – 19, 2022.
16 November 2022 – we have a lift-off!! We are going back to the moon!! I’m sure I’m not the only person getting goosebumps right now!! Here’s a tweet from NASA about the lift-off.
The Artemis I mission is the first test of the NASA’s deep space exploration systems—the SLS and the Orion space capsule—together. The latter will be uncrewed for this test flight, though Artemis II mission—scheduled for 2024—will take four astronauts on an identical journey around the Moon and back.
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