What You Need to Know About the Artemis Launch
Imagine stepping foot onto the surface of the moon! Wouldn’t that be cool? The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, more commonly referred to as NASA, is working on a project that would let that happen in less than 10 years. The program is named Artemis, and it’s a pretty cool initiative to learn about.
What is the Artemis Launch and Program
The Artemis program is made up of several government space agencies in numerous countries, including the U.S., U.K., Canada, Japan, India, Brazil, Mexico, and others. Each of these countries are bound by the Artemis Accords and the contracts which support them, which means they promise to work together on this project. The program was first established in 2017, developed from an earlier program known as the Constellation program that ended in 2010.
The goal of this program is to once again establish a presence on the surface of the Moon. No one has been on the moon since 1972 with the Apollo 17 mission. The Artemis program will have five initial launches, spaced several months to years apart. Each launch has a different purpose and will build the foundation for yearly landings on the Moon in the future.
When is Artemis Launching
The first launch of the Artemis program has already happened. The launch was originally set for 2016, but it got pushed back to November 2022. On the 16th of the month, Artemis 1 mission left the Earth’s atmosphere. The spacecraft was unmanned, only carrying mannequins and robots.
The second launch is scheduled for after November 2024, which will be the first manned launch of the program. This launch will be a test flight with the spacecraft performing tests of the Earth’s orbit before returning to Earth.
Artemis 3 is the third scheduled launch and will include a landing on the moon by the crew. This mission will include the first woman and the first person of color to go to the Moon. Two of those astronauts will spend over six days on the Moon’s surface. This flight is planned for December 2025 or later. It will include putting a Starship Human Landing System (HLS) in a near-rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO).
The next mission, Artemis 4, is scheduled to be September 2028 or later. It will deliver two gateway modules to the NRHO with an upgraded Starship HLS. The fifth mission is scheduled to be on or after September 2029 with all four astronauts landing on the Moon. They will add a communications module to the Gateway along with a Lunar Terrain Vehicle.
Where is Artemis Now
The team that is part of the Artemis program is focusing on Artemis 2 mission. The team of four astronauts have been selected with three of the four from the US and the fourth person from Canada. Three of the four are men with the female, Christina Koch, holding the record for the single longest spaceflight with a woman. The Canadian will be on his first flight while the others have been on previous expeditions.
Processes and technology used for the first launch have already been updated for the second mission. The mobile launcher was tested during the summer while SLS core stage and boosters won’t arrive to the Kennedy Space Center until later in the year.
Artemis is working on some of the main objectives now to prepare for future launches. One of the big tasks is building the Lunar Gateway. This Gateway will serve as a place for astronauts to live during their missions. They could be able to spend weeks and even months in the Gateway as they conduct research on the Moon. Certain modules are currently in development and will be taken to the Moon on later missions.
What is Next for Artemis
NASA has begun work with commercial companies to develop the HLS, which will take astronauts from the Gateway to the surface of the Moon. These companies will need to provide demonstrations without people on board that the HLS can land on the Moon’s surface before a manned mission is allowed.
One of the next projects for Artemis is with Blue Origin. This partnership will allow a lander to be developed where more crew members can go to the Moon and stay for longer periods.
The hope for this project is to make traveling to Mars more feasible someday in the future. If you’ve heard stories about people visiting and even living on Mars, you might not have realized that there are people who are trying to find a way to make those stories a reality.
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