Facts about Artemis I Lunar Space mission
On Monday, August 29th, the launch of the first rocket in the Artemis Lunar program was postponed due to a problem with one of the engines. The next window for Launch is scheduled for tomorrow, September 2nd, and in this article we wanted to highlight the most interesting things about the Artemis I space program.
What is Artemis?
The main goal of the Artemis Lunar program is to send people to the Moon, build a long-term station and gain scientific data and engineering know-hows to build a solid basis for future space exploration programs, specifically for Mars exploration. The Artemis I will also deploy 10 different CubeSats (mini satellites) to conduct various experiments and demos in space.
Artemis is an umbrella brand for NASA’s Moon program. It will include multiple smaller missions, like Artemis I, which will first include crewed flybys near the Moon, with the final goal of the first human landing on Earth’s satellite in over 50 years. If successful, NASA plans to send people to the Moon every year until 2030, to build a new international space station on the orbit of the Moon and a first lunar base on the South Pole of the Moon. This will allow training of both Astronaut crews and ground personnel to develop skills, technologies and engineering solutions that will support NASA’s long-haul target of sending people to Mars in the 2040s.
What is the goal of Artemis I?
The Artemis I mission is the first test flight for both the new SLS rocket launch system and the Orion spaceship. We can’t overestimate the importance of testing all rocket and spacecraft’s systems before actually sending people in the Artemis II mission in 2024, which will rely on all the technologies tested during the Artemis I mission.
Artemis I will last 42 days. It should send the Orion spacecraft toward lunar orbit, just 62 miles away from the lunar surface, where Orion will spend about 6 days. Orion will also carry mannequins that will simulate bodies of three astronauts and will collect the data required to ensure physiological safety of the future missions crews.
And in the end, the Artemis I mission will test the most important stage of the flight - re-entering Earth’s atmosphere and landing near Baja California or somewhere close in the Pacific Ocean. This will be the first real test for the Orion’s external shields and that is the most important part - to ensure that people will be returned safely after future missions.
Artemis II, III and IV
Artemis II is scheduled for 2024 and will include a crew that will perform a lunar flyby without landing on the surface. Artemis III mission will be the first mission with human landing on the Moon in over 50 years - scheduled for 2025 if Artemis I and Artemis II are successful. The Artemis IV will also be a crewed mission that will be sent to infrastructure that NASA plans to build during the Artemis and other space programs. Further missions and their details will be revealed in near future and they highly depend on the success of the first stages of the program.
To sum up, the Artemis lunar program, like the James Webb Space Telescope, is a very important milestone in space exploration that broadens humanity’s knowledge about Space. We will keep you updated on big science news like this, because Space exploration is one of the key drivers for science and technology. And many things that we use on a daily basis, from non-stick cookware like Teflon to telecommunication gadgets, were originally invented for Space Programs and eventually were repurposed for basic human needs on Earth.