The launch of the Artemis I mission should take place in May this year

The Artemis I mission, which will perform the first unmanned flight of the Artemis program around the Moon, is not expected to take place until May this year, according to the Nasa Thursday (24). While engineers evaluate the best launch window, adjustments are made with the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

As Tom Whitmeyers, Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development at NASA, said, the best window to launch Artemis I remains under evaluation. “But we also recognize that there is a lot of work to be done,” he added.

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The work involves a crucial test with the Orion spacecraft mounted on the SLS rocket, where all the factors involved in the launch will be checked. The rehearsal at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. They are to remain there for almost a month, and later they will be transported to the agency’s Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), where they will undergo further analysis and additional data processing. The first release window is scheduled for May 7-21.

If the mission is not ready by then, the next launch windows will be June 6-16 and June 29-July 12. The windows are limited because the launch must be aligned with the Rotation of the Earth and position of the Moon. Additionally, Orion depends on solar power and cannot stay in the shadow of the planet for more than 90 minutes.

About the Artemis program

The Artemis I mission will carry out the first flight of the powerful SLS rocket and the second mission of Orion, which was last in Earth orbit in 2014, to pave the way for the following missions of the Artemis program, which will return with humanity. towards the Moon.

Artist’s concept of the SLS rocket launching the Orion capsule for a trip around the Moon (Image: Reproduction/NASA)

Artemis I will last 26 days. Once mission success is confirmed, NASA will begin preparations for the Artemis II mission, the first to take astronauts on a trip around the Moon – the agency’s first manned mission beyond Earth orbit since it was apollo.

Meanwhile, the next mission, Artemis III, is intended to land astronauts on the lunar surface — apparently around 2025 — using a SpaceX spacecraft.

But the Artemis program does not stop there, because its main objective is to establish a permanent and sustainable human presence, on the surface of the Moon and around it. Learning from the program will be crucial for more distant destinations such as Mars.

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