NASA unveils 98m high rocket for Moon mission

The US space agency is completing the final steps to be ready to launch the first Artemis mission next year.

NASA unveils 98m high rocket for Moon mission

The Orion is stacked atop an SLS Block 1 rocket at NASA’s assembly facility. Video: AFP

NASA is aiming to return humans to the Moon more than five decades after the Apollo 17 landings in 1972. The project includes three Artemis 1, 2 and 3 missions, scheduled to be launched, respectively. in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

On November 5, the US space agency said it had reached a major milestone when stacking the Orion spacecraft on top of a 98-meter-tall SLS Block 1 rocket inside its assembly facility in NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.

The first mission, Artemis 1, was an unmanned mission, intended to test Orion’s ability to operate in deep space. The spacecraft will make a 25.5-day flight, including six days in a retrograde orbit around the Moon, before returning to Earth and landing in the Pacific Ocean by parachute.

The mission also carried CubeSat satellites into orbit to perform a number of experiments and technology demonstrations, including radiation studies and imaging of Orion with the Moon in the background.

If everything goes according to plan, Artemis 1 will be launched on February 12, 2022. If delayed, the mission has three other opportunities on February 27, March and April, according to Mission Director Mike Sarafin. The potential launch intervals of this mission depend on orbital mechanics and Earth’s relative position relative to the Moon.

The subsequent missions, Artemis 2 and 3, were all crewed flights. While Artemis 2 will still use NASA’s SLS Block 1 rocket to send the Orion spacecraft to orbit the Moon, Artemis 3 will use SpaceX’s Starship launch system to send the crew – including the first woman and the man. first colored skin – landed on the celestial surface. However, the launch schedules of both these missions are likely to be delayed.

Doan Duong (Follow AFP)

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