NASA's Artemis I spacecraft arrived at Launch Pad 39B (previously used by Apollo 10 in 1969), at Florida's Kennedy Space Center, on August 17. (Image Source: NASA)
UPDATE 8 (2022 Oct. 1) - NASA is now planning to launch the Artemis I mission within a launch window of November 12 to 27.
UPDATE 7 (2022 Sept. 26) - Due to the strengthening of Hurricane Ian in the Gulf of Mexico, NASA has decided to move the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion space capsule, of the Artemis I mission, back to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to best protect the rocket and space capsule. It could be several weeks before another launch attempt.
More Information: Link >>> https://blogs.nasa.gov/artemis/2022/09/26/nasa-to-roll-artemis-i-rocket-and-spacecraft-back-to-vab-tonight/
UPDATE 6 (2022 Sept. 24) - NASA has waved-off the September 27 launch of the Artemis I mission, due to the approach of Tropical Storm Ian to Florida. A decision to move the rocket back to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) will be made on September 25. If the Artemis / Space Launch System rocket is moved back to the VAB, it could be several weeks before another launch attempt.
More Information: Link >>> https://blogs.nasa.gov/artemis/2022/09/24/artemis-i-managers-wave-off-sept-27-launch-preparing-for-rollback/
UPDATE 5 (2022 Sept. 15) - NASA has adjusted the target launch date for the Artemis I mission to September 27, with October 2 as a back-up date.
UPDATE 4 (2022 Sept. 8) - NASA has announced that the Artemis I mission may be launched on September 23 or September 27.
More Information: Link >>> https://spacenews.com/nasa-preparing-for-late-september-artemis-1-launch-attempt/
UPDATE 3 (2022 Sept. 3) - NASA scrubbed the second launch attempt of the Artemis I mission at 11:17 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 15:17 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on Saturday Morning, 2022 September 3; the launch attempt had been scheduled at 2:17 p.m. EDT / 18:17 UTC. Engineers encountered a liquid hydrogen (H) leak while loading the propellant into the Space Launch System rocket's core stage. Multiple troubleshooting efforts to address the leak did not fix the issue.
NASA will probably need to return Artemis I to the Vehicle Assembly Building for inspection and maintenance. This would delay the launch of Artemis I by several weeks, at the least.
More Information: Link >>> https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/03/world/nasa-artemis-1-saturday-launch-scn/index.html
UPDATE 2 (2022 Aug. 31) - NASA announced that the second launch attempt for the Artemis I mission would be Saturday Afternoon, 2022 September 3 at 2:17 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 18:17 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Engineers will start the chill-down procedure for the engines 30-to-45 minutes earlier in the countdown, a procedure that was successful during earlier tests at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
For Live-stream coverage of Artemis I launch and mission hightlights, Internet Link to NASA-TV located near the end of this blog-post.
UPDATE (2022 Aug. 30) - Launch of the historic Artemis I mission was scrubbed by NASA at 8:34 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 12:34 Coordinated Univeral Time (UTC) on Monday Morning, 2022 August 29. One of the 4 RS-25 Space Launch System (SLS) rocket engines (engine 3) had not cooled to the proper temperature range, in order to allow super-cold propellant to begin flowing through the engine. Each engine must be thermally conditioned for the super-cold propellant, for the engine to operate properly. Engineers are now evaluating data gathered from the launch attempt, to determine what needs to be done for a future successful launch.
Although no alternative date and time have been confirmed for a second launch attempt, NASA has stated that a launch could take place at the beginning of a 2-hour window beginning at 12:48 p.m. EDT / 16:48 UTC on Friday AfternNASAoon, 2022 September 2.
After Friday, a launch could also take place at the beginning of a 2-hour window beginning at 5:12 p.m. EDT / 21:12 UTC on Labor Day, Monday Afternoon, 2022 September 5.
By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower
After several delays, the first launch in NASA's Artemis Space Program is scheduled for Monday, Morning. This test mission, called Artemis I, will include no human crew but will fly beyond the Moon before returning to Earth.
Live coverage of the launch and other mission highlights will be provided on NASA Television, the NASA Telephone App, and the NASA Internet Web-site. The launch of Artemis I is currently scheduled at the beginning of the first 2-hour launch window, which opens at 8:33 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 12:33 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on Monday Morning, 2022 August 29. Back-up launch dates are September 2 and September 5.
Internet Link to NASA-TV located near the end of this blog-post.
Currently, meteorologists are studying the potential impact that 3 lightning strikes, yesterday on the launch pad's 2 lightning protection towers, may have on Monday's launch. Electromagnetic environment experts will determine if any constraints on vehicle or ground systems were violated.
Artemis I consists of NASA's new Moon rocket, called the Space Launch System (SLS) and the new Orion space capsule. As a test mission, this mission could end prematurely if major problems are experienced.
“We’re going to stress it and test it. We’re going make it do things that we would never do with a crew on it in order to try to make it as safe as possible,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The primary mission of Artemis I is a proof-of-coneept mission. NASA states on their Internet Web-site: “The primary goals for Artemis I are to demonstrate Orion’s systems in a spaceflight environment and ensure a safe re-entry, descent, splashdown, and recovery prior to the first flight with crew on Artemis II.”
The Artemis I mission is scheduled to last 42 days, 3 hours, and 20 minutes. In that amount of time, the Orion spacecraft is expected to travel 1.3 million miles / 2.09 kilometers. On the launch pad, the combined Orion space capsule and SLS rocket stand as tall as a 32-story building.
Major payloads aboard Artemis I include 10 small and low-cost Cube-Sat satellites to be deployed during the mission. Also, mannequins will take the place of live crew members in the Orion capsule, including "Captain Moonikin Campos" (named after Arturo Campos, an engineer who played a major role in resolving the emergency that occurred during the Apollo 13 mission), alongside NASA's Snoopy (the famous beagle from the Peanuts comic-strip) and the European Space Agency's Shaun the Sheep. In cooperation with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Israel Space Agency (ISA), a Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE) will take place during the mission, which will measure tissue radiation doses aboard Artemis 1 and test the effectiveness of the AstroRad radiation vest.
For 6 days, Artemis I will be in a distant retrograde orbit of the Moon. While at one point this orbit will bring the spacecraft within about 60 miles / 96.56 kilometers of the lunar surface, the orbit will also take the spacecraft well beyond the Moon.
The cost of the Artemis I mission is $4 billion. The estimated cost of the Artemis Program up until a possible 2025 lunar landing is $93 billion. This includes cost-over-runs from several years of delays.
The Orion space capsule is designed to hold a maximum of 6 astronauts; but, again, the Artemis I test mission will hold no human crew. Orion is a partially re-usable spacecraft with a Crew Module and an European Service Module. It utilizes solar panels for electrical power, an automated docking system, and glass cockpit interfaces similar to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet aircraft.
Orion can be sustained for 21 days while not docked to a space station and can last up to 6 months while docked at a space station. As Artemis I is a test mission and carries no crew, the Orion capsule will actually remain in Outer Space for 6 weeks, to test all aspects of the spacecraft as well as all contingencies.
The Space Launch System (SLS), the heaviest rocket ever produced by NASA, will be the vehicle used to lift the Orion capsule from Earth to the Moon. As NASA's successor to the Space Shuttle, the SLS is meant to be NASA's primary rocket for Deep Space missions with astronauts going to the Moon, Mars, Asteroid Belt, and possibly beyond.
Unlike the Space Shuttle, the Orion spacecraft will return to Earth using parachutes and splashdown in an ocean, as did the Apollo Moon missions. The Artemis I Orion capsule, utilizing a heat shield, is scheduled to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on Monday, 2022 October 10.
Before astronauts can land on the Moon, a small space station, called the Lunar Gateway, will be placed in orbit around the Moon. The Lunar Gateway Space Station is a cooperative project of NASA, European Space Agency (ESA), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and Canadian Space Agency (CSA). As the Lunar Gateway Space Station has yet to be built, Artemis I tests will not include space station dockings.
A solar-powered communications hub, the Lunar Gateway Space Station will serve as a transfer station where astronauts from Earth will transfer to a shuttle-craft for the trek to the Moon's surface. The Lunar Gateway Space Station will also be a short-term habitation module and science laboratory, as well as a holding area for rovers and other robots. Last year, NASA awarded a $2.9 billion contract to Elon Musk's SpaceX, to produce a lunar lander spacecraft for the Artemis III mission.
If all goes well with the. Artemis I mission, astronauts will board Artemis II for a loop around the Moon in 2024. And, if that goes well, Artemis III will land astronauts on the Moon, probably near the Moon's South Pole, at the end of 2025 or in 2026, including the first female astronaut and the first astronaut of-color.
Internet Link to NASA-TV Live Coverage of Artemis I Launch & Mission:
Link >>> https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive
Internet Links to Additional Information ---
Artemis 1 -
Link 1 (NASA) >>> https://www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis-i/
Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemis_1
Orion Space Capsule: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_(spacecraft)
Space Launch System (SLS) Rocket: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Launch_System
Lunar Gateway Space Station: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Gateway
Related Blog-Posts ---
"Public Comments Due May 31: NASA Plans to Explore Moon & Mars." Mon., 2022 May 23.
"Roll-Out Thur.: NASA's New Moon Rocket / Fly Your Name Around Moon on Artemis I." Tue., 2022 March 15.
Sunday, 2022 August 28.
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