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At SciTech Daily: Artemis I: Mega Moon Rocket Ready for Launch

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The Artemis I mega Moon rocket is on the launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is getting ready to launch the Orion spacecraft and its European Service Module. The first opportunity for launch is November 16 at 1:04 a.m. EST/local time (07:04 CET, 06:04 GMT).

Artemis I Mission Overview Infographic
Artemis I mission overview. Orion is NASA’s next spacecraft to send humans into space and is part of the Artemis program. It is designed to send astronauts farther into space than ever before, beyond the Moon and to the lunar Gateway. Credit: ESA–K. Oldenburg

Artemis I is the first mission in a large program to send astronauts around and on the Moon sustainably. This uncrewed first launch will see the Orion spacecraft travel to the Moon, enter an elongated orbit around our satellite, and then return to Earth. The Orion spacecraft is powered by the European-built module that supplies electricity, propulsion, fuel, water, and air in addition to keeping the spacecraft operating at the right temperature.

Artemis to the Moon

The European Service Modules are made from components supplied by over 20 companies in ten European Space Agency (ESA) Member States and the United States. As the first European Service Module sits atop the SLS rocket on the launchpad, the second is only 8 km (5 miles) away, as it is currently being integrated with the Orion crew capsule for the first crewed mission – Artemis II. The third and fourth European Service Modules – that will power astronauts to a Moon landing – are in production in Bremen, Germany.

The Artemis program is an international endeavor to build a permanent outpost around and on the Moon. Modules for the lunar Gateway are being built in the United States and Europe, with the first European module – International Habitat – in production in Turin, Italy, and set for launch on the fourth Artemis mission alongside the Orion spacecraft.

The first Artemis launch this week is without humans, but three mannequins have been placed in the spacecraft’s seats to conduct scientific research. Fitted with more than 5600 sensors, two mannequins will measure the amount of radiation astronauts could be exposed to in future missions with unprecedented precision. ESA is also including active radiation dosimeters in the Crew Module to get more data on how radiation levels change on a mission to the Moon – building on the leadership developed over decades of radiation research on the International Space Station.

Dates

With a November 16 launch, the three-week Artemis I mission would end on December 11 with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. The European Service Module detaches from the Orion Crew Module before splashdown and burns up harmlessly in the atmosphere, its job complete after taking Orion to the Moon and back safely.

Backup Artemis I launch dates include November 19. Watch the launch live on ESA Web TV.

SciTech Daily

5 Replies to “At SciTech Daily: Artemis I: Mega Moon Rocket Ready for Launch

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    I really hope they can finally get it off the ground!

  2. 2
    relatd says:

    This is what happens when you put teenagers in charge. There were no problems fueling and launching the Saturn V in 1969. Now they can’t figure out a liquid hydrogen seal? And mannequins? Let’s go back to 1959 and send monkeys into space – again. Instrumented mannequins are no improvement…

  3. 3
    BobRyan says:

    I am hoping the launch goes without more delays. We never should have stopped going to the moon. We would be on Mars, and possibly have floating cities over Venus. Stopping cost us a great deal.

  4. 4
    relatd says:

    Stopping saved a lot of money. And what about Mars? Look up the average surface temperature. Odds are you will be living in an inflated tube in a cave tunnel just below ground. Gravity is only about 38% Earth gravity. Need water? You had better have brought along a mile worth of pipe and a drilling machine. Sure, some water is available as water ice just below the surface in some areas but you will need to heat it and filter it to drink it.

    If we go back to the Moon, it will be for one reason: making money. Solar energy will be beamed from the surface to Earth. A small shack for a few astronauts will be located in a crater. Once the solar panels are in place, they leave. The entire operation will be automated. If, big IF, there is a moon base, it will require at least 10 rocket supply launches every day.

  5. 5
    BobRyan says:

    Finally, a successful launch.

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