We are counting down.
NASA’s giant rocket, called the Space Launch System (SLS), is ready to launch Monday morning from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
On top of the rocket sits Orion, the spacecraft that will eventually take astronauts to the moon.
This mission, called Artemis I, is an important test of some. how Orion works. It also describes how its heat shield holds up during travel to the Moon and re-entry at ultra-high speeds.
Several tests are also being conducted on board, including radiation experiments on three mannequins. High doses of cosmic radiation can be fatal to humans.
All of this paves the way for Artemis II, scheduled for 2024 or 2025, with four astronauts, including a Canadian, orbiting the moon.
The rocket is set to launch by 8:33 AM ET on Monday, with a launch time of two hours.
“Good luck guys, we’re going to the moon,” said Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Missions Directorate, at a mission briefing on Saturday.
Artemis mission manager Mike Sarafin said the atmosphere around Kennedy Space Center is becoming more and more energetic.
“As Zero Hour for Artemis Generation approaches, we’re building up the anticipation and there’s definitely excitement among our team members,” he said. I found it to be definitely positive.”
This is a mission that has been in the making for over a decade. Former US President Barack Obama made the announcement of his SLS rocket in 2010, with the goal of flying it in 2016.
However, this is not the first Orion Capsule ride. It was launched into Earth orbit on a Delta IV Heavy rocket in December 2014 and landed in the water just over four hours later.
But this would be a completely different journey for Capsule. When Orion returned for her test, called EFT-1, it re-entered the atmosphere at about 32,000 km/h. This time, after a 42-day mission, the capsule is pushed to the limit at her breakneck speed of 40,000 km/h, reaching temperatures of up to 2,800 degrees Celsius.
Everyone on the team recognizes that Artemis I is a trial. This means that you can go wrong, but you will learn from it.
“Keep in mind that this is a test flight. Also keep in mind that this is a deliberate stress test of the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System rocket. This is a new creation. This is a new rocket, just a new spacecraft that will send humans to the moon on its next flight,” Sarafin said.
“This hasn’t been done in over 50 years, and it’s incredibly difficult.”
Artemis II will be followed by Artemis III, which will feature the first woman and the first man of color on the moon, as NASA focuses on.
The Artemis Project is the long-term goal of sending humanity back to the Moon and beyond. NASA has Mars firmly in its sights. But they aren’t going to do it alone.
Unlike the Apollo program, this is an international effort. The European Space Agency provides a service module for the Artemis program, and Canada provides a Canadarm 3 for its lunar orbiting space station, Lunagateway. moon or Mars.
“There is so much space to explore, and this is just the next step in that exploration. This time, we are going with an international partner,” NASA administrators said at a briefing on Saturday.
“It’s no longer the Apollo generation. It’s the Artemis generation.”
NASA’s giant moon rocket is scheduled to launch on Monday morning
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