NASA remains committed to preparations for the return of astronauts to the Moon and, if all goes according to plan, the first of the Artemis program missions will launch into space in May. This week, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket traveled to Launch Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where it will undergo a series of tests and inspections.
The journey began on March 17, with the SLS, which carried the first of the Orion capsules into space, to be transported in the Crawler Transporter-2, a vehicle capable of supporting its weight of over 1,587 tons throughout. along the route of more than six kilometres. After 10 hours and 28 minutes, the SLS reached its destination.
Click on the images to see the SLS journey to the launch pad
The occasion was marked by NASA with a special event, which you can re-watch through the Youtube channel of the agency. “The Artemis generation is preparing to reach new frontiers,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “This generation will send astronauts back to the Moon, and this time we will bring the first woman and the first person of color to its surface to conduct groundbreaking science experiments.”
“NASA’s Artemis program will pave the way for humanity’s great leap forward: future missions to Mars. (…) When this gigantic rocket takes off, it will carry with it all our greatest hopes, ”said the official.
It is recalled that Artemis I is an unmanned mission and that it intends to test the technological systems of the project. The Orion capsule that will follow the SLS “ride” will carry a mannequin, called Commander Moonikin Fieldswhich will simulate a crew member, integrating sensors to record radiation, acceleration and vibration levels as the mission travels around the Moon and back to Earth, as well as a a Snoopy plushwhich will serve as a severity indicator.
According to NASA, the launch window for the Artemis I mission will be between May 7 and May 21. If it is not possible to launch it during this period, the agency will take advantage of two other time slots between June 6 and June 16 or between June 29 and July 12.
After a reportthe Artemis II mission, where the technical characteristics related to the human part of the mission will be tested, is scheduled for 2024. The return of astronauts to the Moon, on the other hand, should only take place in 2025 with the Artemis III mission. .