To the moon and back: NASA shares an update on the launch of Artemis I

Highlights 

  • NASA’s plan to launch the test flight of Artemis I has been shifted to February 2022.
  • Artemis I aims at sending humans to the moon to establish a sustainable and long-term presence of humans in their nearest neighbour.
  • In case, NASA is not able to successfully complete the final stage tests then next launch will be scheduled in March.

NASA’s plan to launch the test flight of Artemis I have been shifted to February 2022, according to the space agency.

The uncrewed lunar mission is the ambitious program of NASA to return humans to the moon was initially programmed for the end of this year (November), however, the timeline has slipped due to factors like a pandemic, Hurrican Ida storms and other factors.

On 22 October, NASA officials stated that if all the tests go well or as per the plan, then after that the launch window will open around the moon.

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The uncrewed Orion spacecraft will be launched atop the Space Launch System and the flight will reach the moon and not only that it will travel beyond it. It will cover the distance that has never been covered while carrying humans. After the completion of the flight, the Orion will splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

On Wednesday, a major milestone has been achieved by the agency as it reported the completion of stacking of Orion Spacecraft atop its SLS mega-rocket.

Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator stated that,

Before the actual launch, the stack will go through wet dress rehearsal, that is, full operations will be tested by running everything which is required for launch. The results of the wet dress rehearsal can have a significant impact on the launch date.

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NASA highlighted that person of colour and a woman will be the first ones to make the flight.

The launch window in February 2022 will open on 12 and close on 27. The next launch window will open in March and after that in April. The launch periods are predicted on the basis of Earth’s relative position and orbital mechanism.

For performing technology demonstrations and experiments, small satellites such as CubeSats will be deployed. If everything goes as per the schedule then Artemis 2 will be launched in 2023 and Artemis 3 in 2024.

What is Space Launch System (SLS)?

Space Launch System is a rocket which is developed by NASA to travel long distances such as taking astronauts to Mars, the moon or other distances. SLS is a part of the Artemis program that aims at sending humans to the moon to establish a sustainable and long-term presence of humans in their nearest neighbour.

Bottom Line

The launch of the mega-rocket has been shifted from November 2021 to February 2022 due to pandemics and other factors. It is expected that, if all the tests are conducted successfully then it is possible that launch be conducted in February, else it will be shifted to March. The successful launch will bring allow the transfer of humans to the nearest neighbour of Earth.

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