The Artemis 1 mission to the Moon is on track

The Artemis 1 mission to the Moon is on track

WASHINGTON: The Artemis 1 mission to the Moon is on track now. With a test launch of NASA’s most potent rocket on Monday, the Artemis program is prepared to pick up the torch of lunar exploration fifty years after the final Apollo mission. The objective is to send people back to Mars and, eventually, the Moon for the first time since the final Apollo mission in 1972.

The launch is project to draw between 100,000 and 200,000 people, and hotels in the area of Cape Canaveral are completely book. On KSC’s Launch Complex 39B, the enormous orange and white rocket has been idle for a week. KSC director Janet Petro remarked, “You can sense the excitement, the electricity, ever since we rolled out to the pad last week. “It’s quite palpable,”

Tests of the SLS and the Orion crew capsule, which is mounted atop the rocket, are the aim of the flight, dubb Artemis 1. In place of the crew, sensor-equipped mannequins will measure the levels of acceleration, vibration, and radiation. 

Splashdown in Pacific

A record-breaking distance for a spaceship designed to carry humans, the Orion capsule will orbit the Moon, approaching within 60 miles (100 kilometres) of it at its closest point before firing its engines to travel 40,000 miles beyond.

Testing the capsule’s heat shield, the largest ever built at 16 feet in diameter, is one of the mission’s main goals. The heat shield will have to endure a speed of 25,000 miles per hour and a temperature of 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit when it returns to the Earth’s atmosphere (2,760 degrees Celsius). Orion will splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego, its descent slowed by parachutes.

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NASA has built in a two-hour launch window, but Monday’s lift-off will be at the mercy of the weather, which can be unpredictable in Florida at this time of year. 

Otherwise, everything is in motion.  However, just because a rocket and a capsule are taking off for the first time doesn’t mean something can’t go wrong.

Implicit risk

According to Mike Serafin, the mission manager for Artemis 1, “We’re doing something that is really tough to perform and does contain inherent risk in it.” The mission will proceed in circumstances that would not be suitable for an astronaut-manned flight because it is an unscrewed trip, according to Sarafin.

In the event of a faulty solar array deployment, he explained, “we would move forward, which is something we wouldn’t necessarily do on a crewed mission.” For a program that costs $4.1 billion per launch and is already years behind schedule, a total failure would be devastating.

In the upcoming Artemis 2 mission, astronauts will orbit the Moon rather than touch down there. The earliest that the Artemis 3 crew will set foot on the Moon is 2025.

The Artemis program seeks to send the first woman and person of color to space, in contrast to the Apollo astronauts, who were all white men and the only ones to set foot on the Moon.

Since humans have previously been to the Moon, Artemis has its sights set on an even more ambitious objective: a crewed journey to Mars in the future. The goal of the Artemis program is to build a base on the surface and an orbiting space station called Gateway to establish a permanent human presence on the Moon.

For a journey to Mars that would take at least several months, Gateway would act as a staging and refueling station. Former astronaut and assistant NASA administrator Bob Cabana predicted that Artemis will inspire people even more than Apollo did.

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