The flight will also mark the first launch of the agency’s massive Space Launch System rocket, a key milestone in the Artemis campaign to return astronauts to the lunar surface for the first time since the last Apollo mission in 1972.
Given the complexity of the vehicles and the fact that NASA has not launched the SLS rocket before, NASA stressed that launch dates at Kennedy Space Center in Florida are uncertain and are subject to change.
It took NASA several tries earlier this year to run a fuel-fueling and simulated countdown test known as a wetsuit rehearsal of the SLS rocket. While loading 700,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen into the rocket, the engineers discovered a number of problems. including hydrogen leak This prevented NASA from completing the test countdown. As a result, NASA had to return the rocket from the launch pad to the assembly building for repairs and additional testing.
Still, officials said they could complete it. your test is enough to continue with a launch attempt. On Wednesday, space agency officials said all was well.
The mission, known as Artemis I, will send the Orion crew capsule into orbit of the moon for about six weeks, allowing the agency to test a number of systems before putting the astronauts on board.
Mike Sarafin, NASA’s Artemis mission manager, said one of the main goals of the flight was to test Orion’s heat shield. The heat shield is intended to protect Orion and its future crew from the extreme temperatures it will encounter when it enters Earth’s atmosphere at 24,500 miles, or Mach 32. These temperatures will be “half as high as the sun,” Sarafin said.
NASA will also attempt to test the spacecraft’s navigation systems, its ability to use power from solar arrays, and its flexibility when traveling in high-radiation areas. The three dummies on the plane will be equipped with sensors to determine how the astronauts will fare in flight. Another test would save the spacecraft after it splashed into the ocean, Sarafin said.
Given that NASA isn’t trying to send humans a spacecraft designed to fly moon after 50 yearsSarafin said problems are expected, but “our team is prepared to adapt along the way.”
If the Artemis I mission goes as planned, NASA plans to fly a similar mission known as Artemis II with astronauts on board. NASA said a human landing called Artemis III could come as early as 2025.
If NASA decides to go ahead with an Artemis, I’ll launch it in August. On August 29, the SLS will transport its rocket from the assembly building to the launch pad. 18.
“We think we’re on a good track to achieve that. [launch] “But he reminded reporters that astronauts often come to their families to watch their launch into space, saying, “They need to plan a seven-day vacation to Florida, and you might see a launch there, too,” said NASA associate administrator Jim Free.
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