France Press agency , Posted on Wed Jul 20 2022 at 6:47 PM
The date is finally close: NASA announced Wednesday that the Artemis 1 mission, the US program’s first mission to return to the moon, may launch on August 29.
There are two possible alternative dates: September 2 or 5, as set by the space agency. This timely announcement came on the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969.
More than half a century later, Artemis should mark Americans’ return to this star, including the first woman and first person of color.
However, Artemis 1 will not have an astronaut on board. The mission aims to test NASA’s new giant rocket, the SLS, which will be its maiden flight, and the Orion capsule at its top, where a crew of Artemis 2 will be installed.
Take off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Once the rocket is propelled, the capsule will go to the moon, where it will put itself into orbit before returning to Earth.
The mission, depending on the final launch date among the three announced, could last from 39 to 42 days.
Orion already flew into space for the first time for a test, in 2014, at that time it was launched by a Delta IV rocket. She has completed two rounds on the ground, in particular to test her heat shield.
But this time, the capsule will return from a much further distance, and therefore it will have to endure even more extreme conditions as it returns to the Earth’s atmosphere: a speed of about 40 thousand km / h and a temperature “half the heat of the sun”. confirmed during a press conference Mike Sarafin, in charge of the mission at NASA.
In addition to this first objective, the mission must demonstrate the ship’s ability to operate in deep space and recover after landing in the ocean at the end of the voyage.
The Artemis 1 takeoff, originally scheduled for earlier this year, had to be postponed in order to complete a test on the launch pad in June.
Artemis 2 is currently scheduled for 2024. The first mission aboard with astronauts, it will not land on the moon yet, but will simply orbit around it.
This honor will be reserved for the crew of Artemis 3, a mission scheduled for 2025 at the earliest.
The last time humans landed on the moon was on Apollo 17 in 1972.
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