US Vice President Mike Pence announced last week (December 9, 2020) that NASA has selected 18 astronauts from its body to form what it calls the Artemis team. Two of these astronauts are expected to become the first American men and women to return to the moon in 1972. This monthly manned mission could be launched as early as 2024 (although there have been recent noises, the date can be rejected). Pence introduced the Artemis astronauts on Dec. 9 during the 8th National Space Council meeting at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. You can see them by appearing in the video above (starting with about 1 minute).
NASA said it would later announce flight tasks for astronauts, drawing from the Artemis team.
Here you will find names and short biographies for the members of the Artemis team.
Meanwhile, despite a reported failure of the component on the cone-shaped Orion space capsule – the vehicle that will carry the astronauts – all indications so far are that the first Artemis mission, an unmanned mission, is still scheduled for launch in November 2021. at the agency’s agency. Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This mission will be Artemis 1.
The launch in November 2021 will be a test of both the Orion capsule and the rocket destined for its launch, called SLS or Space Launch System.
The second Artemis mission – planned for 2023 – will test Orion’s critical systems with the people on board. It is expected to be the first manned mission to travel beyond the low orbit of Earth from Apollo 17 in 1972.
Then comes the Artemis 3 mission, which is expected to take astronauts back to the moon, hopefully in 2024. The Artemis program is part of US President Donald Trump’s Space Policy Directive 1, approved in December 2017. The stated goal is to return to American astronauts. on the Moon for the first time since 1972 and:
… lay the groundwork for a possible mission to Mars.
The Artemis program is named for Apollo’s sister in Greek mythology.
EarthSky’s monthly calendar shows the phase of the month for each day in 2021. Order before you leave! Makes a wonderful gift.
In the Artemis 1 mission, the Orion crew module and the SLS rocket are expected to be launched together from the historic launch complex of the Kennedy 39B Space Center. SLS – a more powerful rocket than Saturn V that propelled Apollo astronauts to the moon – will produce 8.8 million pounds (39 million newtons) with the five boosters and four engines during takeoff to bring in six million pounds (2.7 million kg)) of the vehicle in orbit.
After releasing the rappels, the engines will stop and the central stage (main body) of the rocket will separate from the spaceship.
There are a series of technical propulsion stages that will give Orion the muscle needed to leave Earth’s orbit and move in the direction of the moon, but not before leaving a number of small satellites called CubeSats while on the road. These CubeSats will perform a series of experiments and demonstrations unrelated to the deep space Artemis mission, such as exposing living microorganisms to a deep space radiation environment for the first time in more than 40 years.
Once in lunar orbit, Orion will collect data and allow mission controllers to evaluate its performance for about a week. When it is ready to return home, Orion will use its space propulsion system provided by the European Space Agency (ESA), along with the gravity of the moon, to return to Earth.
The ESA service module will provide – in addition to space propulsion – energy, air and water for astronauts in future missions.
About three weeks and more than 1.3 million miles (2.1 million km) later, the Artemis 1 mission will end with a test of Orion’s return capabilities, directing him to land near a spacecraft. recovery off the coast of Baja, California. All of this might sound like a lot of complicated technical work. The NASA video below illustrates the entire Artemis 1 mission.
Although the coronavirus pandemic has slowed SLS testing, the process is now resumed at the agency’s Mississippi Stennis Space Center. Boeing led the construction of the SLS megarocket and is now engaged in a testing process called the green run. It will culminate in a hot fire test, where the rocket launches its engines while it is grounded and withstands every step of a launch as if it were really taking place. This test was originally scheduled for November 2020 and is now scheduled for the end of December. This delay could leave little room to keep things on track for the launch of Artemis 1 in 2021.
After the hot fire test, the basic stage will be reconditioned and brought to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for even more tests. The Orion development, led by Lockheed Martin and Airbus Defense and Space, has experienced its own delays, although the spacecraft is about to begin preparations for the launch of Artemis 1 in early 2021.
The second mission – the manned Orion capsule test mission, Artemis 2 – is scheduled for August 2023.
Future manned exploration missions aboard the Orion will dock with the Gateway, a NASA outpost it intends to build in orbit around the moon to support long-term, sustainable human return to the lunar surface. NASA monthly director Marshall Smith said:
No need to make the huge leap at once. For a future mission, after proving that we can reach the moon and get a lander to work, we can have both docked at the Gateway.
Conclusion: NASA has selected 18 astronauts from its body to form what it calls the Artemis team. Two members of this team are expected to become the first American men and women to return to the moon in 1972. The first Artemis mission – an unmanned test mission known as Artemis 1 – is still expected to be launched in November 2021. The Artemis program aims to transport humans back to the moon and eventually to Mars.
Read more from EarthSky: NASA will test its SLS megarocket in the coming weeks