Back to the Moon: NASA is set to launch the Artemis 1 mission — here’s what you should know
NASAis ready to launch the Artemis 1 missionfrom the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, sending the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion capsule on a more than month-long journey around the Moon.
- Artemis 1 has sensor-rigged mannequins inside the Orion capsule to collect data about what astronauts will experience on the trip.
- The rocket will travel about 1.3 million miles over the course of 42 days.
AdvertisementNASA’s ambitious Artemis 1 mission is all set to take an essential step toward returning humans to the Moon nearly after a half-century. The mission is scheduled to launch on Monday at 6:00 pm IST on Monday from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying the Orion capsule on a more than month-long journey around the Moon.
This launch mission marks the debut of the most powerful rocket called the Space Launch System, or SLS with the Orion spacecraft sitting on top. While Artemis 1 will not carry astronauts and neither will it land on the Moon, the mission is critical to demonstrate that NASA’s deep space capsule and its rocket can deliver on their promised abilities.
How does Artemis 1 differ from the other rocket launches?
Artemis 1 is going to be the first flight of the new Space Launch System (SLS). According to NASA, the Space Launch System, or SLS is a heavy lift vehicle and it is the most powerful rocket engine ever flown to space, even more powerful than Apollo’s Saturn V system that took astronauts to the Moon in the 1960s and ‘70s.
The new SLS rocket system combines liquid oxygen and hydrogen for main engines and two solid rocket boosters. NASA claims that this SLS engine is a hybrid between the Apollo Saturn V rocket and space shuttle.
The Artemis 1 mission is the ultimate test for NASA as it aims to return astronauts to the Moon by 2025. This unmanned flight will test the SLS rocket readiness as well as the Orion capsule's fitness to carry astronauts.
This will also test the potential of Orion’s heat shield as it is the biggest of its kind at 5 meters large. Moreover, this will test if the capsule can withstand the hot temperatures which can soar up to 2,800 degrees celsius on the trip back from the Moon, when it slams into the Earth’s atmosphere at 40,000 kph.
The Artemis 1 mission is the first step toward Artemis 3, which is going to result in the first human mission to the Moon. NASA’s Artemis 1 will go on a 42-day long trip around the Moon, after which the Orion capsule will take 10 days to cover the orbits of the lunar surface and Orion will spend two weeks there.
There will be three mannequins inside the Orion capsule to collect data via sensors about what astronauts will experience on the trip. In addition to the three mannequins, Artemis 1 will carry several other payloads such as cube satellites, science investigations and technology demonstrations.
Orion is expected to splash down in the Pacific Ocean, San Diego, California.
The Artemis 2 is scheduled to launch in a couple of years and it will have astronauts on board. It will be similar to Apollo 8, which circled around the Moon and came back home. The Artemis 3 will launch some time later this decade.
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