How will the Artemis I mission around the Moon unfold?

This is the first time launcher SLS (Space launch system) shows himself completely public cape canaveral. Accompanied Full moon, the SLS dominates the historic launch pad as it slowly makes its way to launch pad 39B. It reminds observers and an entire generation of the path Saturn V traveled to that same launch pad before launch. astronauts on the moon. This is a key step for NASA who succeeded SLS lunar rocket taxiing. Now what’s next?

The SLS has arrived at the launch pad, now what?

Now we need to check if the SLS adapts well to its launch pad. NASA has scheduled a dress rehearsal in early April. The exact date has not yet been announced. Included in this dress rehearsal is the SLS Tank Fill Test. To take off rocket Lunar will consumeoxygen Andhydrogen in the state liquid. If the tanks have already passed the pre-explosion pre-test, this is to verify that everything is working properly under the conditions of the launch countdown.

After the dress rehearsal, NASA will announce the takeoff date. Takeoff is possible either from May 7, if everything goes well, or later in the summer, as expected. There will be no one on board the spaceship Orion which was placed on this titanic launcher. Artemis I is a qualification mission, both for spacecraft manufactured in Europe and the United States, and especially for the Boeing SLS. If the mission is successful, the Artemis II astronauts will take control.

flight of the year

Launch Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center tested Apollo 10, American space shuttlelaunch space station skylabor even a peace mission Apollo Soyuz. It has been repaired and reinforced to support the equivalent of 2,125 African elephants! It is strong enough to carry 2,628 tons of the SLS lunar rocket. The latter will play a role in the mission for only one hour and fifty-three minutes. The rest of the mission concerns the Orion spacecraft and will last almost 25 days.

On T-0, the launch will begin with an update Fire four RS-25 engines, as well as two giant thrusters fuel booster solid provided by Northrop Grumman. In two minutes, they will be ejected, completely devastated. The PC-25 engines will continue to roar for another six minutes and fourteen seconds. At the moment, the main stage of the SLS, recognizable by its color red will finish its work and we will already be at an altitude of more than 150 kilometers, which means we will be in space.

Two minutes after the release of the main stage, ship Orion will deploy its solar panels. Protective panels will already be removed from it, as well as a rescue tower, a necessary device for ejecting the ship and its passengers if the rocket ever catches fire on the launch pad or while crossing the border.atmosphere.

Only much later, 54 minutes after the start of the launch, the second stage engine, ICPS, delivered Combined launch of the Alliance (ULA). The ICPS is used the first time to climb and the second time half an hour later to place the Orion spacecraft into orbit. transfer orbit to the moon. Once his mission is completed, the ICPS resets. Then we’ll take the opportunity to throw a dozen cubesats who are non-essential passengers on this flight.

Around the moon

This is not the first demonstration flight of Orion. It already made its first flight in 2014 as part of the program Constellation, the predecessor of the Artemis program. This flight will allow him to once again test the manned module manufactured by Lockheed Martin, as well as service module provided by the European Space Agency (ESA). The trajectory that Orion will achieve during the Artemis I mission is equivalent to the mission trajectory Apollo 8.

It will take a little over three days to reach the moon. To enter orbit, Orion will travel nearly 100 kilometers from the surface and will use the force of gravity lunar to increase it speed. With a few fixes, the ship will enter a retrograde orbit around the Moon. Indeed, the spacecraft will orbit the Moon in the opposite direction to its rotation around the Earth.

The Orion spacecraft will remain in orbit around the Moon for just over six days. NASA will take the opportunity to recover data, test the ship’s various communications and navigation systems. To contact him, NASA will use Deep Space Networkan antenna array used to interact with interplanetary probes.

The Orion will host an experiment (Mare) that aims to measure the levels of radiation that the ship’s passengers may be exposed to. Around the moon we are almost no longer protected earth’s magnetic field which deflects particles ejected Sun. On board the ship, two mannequins will be covered sensors and one of them will be wearing an experimental vest that should block some of the radiation.

Return to Earth and continuation of the program

To leave lunar orbit and return to Earth, Orion will once again overcome almost 100 kilometers of altitude to accelerate, using not only lunar gravity, but also the main engine of the service module. Then it will move into a transfer orbit in the direction of our planet. The trip should last a little over three days.

It is after a three-week journey of more than 1.3 million kilometers that the Orion spacecraft will return to Earth. Before entering the Earth’s atmosphere, the habitable module will separate from the service module. The latter is not protected, it will burn up in the atmosphere when it falls, and the habitable module will pass through it, protected by its heat shield. He will finish his descent under parachute. It is expected to land in the Pacific Ocean near California. After that, the mission of Artemis I will be completed.

We’ll have to be patient for the rest, depending on the results of this first mission. Artemis II should not take place before 2023 or even 2024. This will be the program’s first mission with astronauts on board, but they won’t land on the moon. They will simply bypass it in a “dress rehearsal” mode, as they did with Apollo 10. This is the mission Artemis III which will return astronauts to the surface of our natural satellite, including the first-ever lunar walk.

Support your independent scientific media: discover our subscription formulas!

4 good reasons to follow Futura on Patreon:

  1. Website without ads from 3.29 euros per month.
  2. It’s without obligation.
  3. Access to priority content in preview just for you.
  4. You support our business in the best possible way. A real motivation for us!
I follow Futura on Patreon.

Interested in what you just read?

Leave a Comment