NASA's moon mission Artemis 1 to lift off on August 29| 10 top points

Published on Aug 27, 2022 11:41 AM IST

Here we have presented a ten-point summary of the Artemis 1 mission to give a clear and concise overview of the mission, its significance and future scope.

The moon sets in front of the NASA Artemis rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard on pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center. ((AP Photo/John Raoux, File))
The moon sets in front of the NASA Artemis rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard on pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center. ((AP Photo/John Raoux, File))
By | Edited by Aryan Prakash

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is all set to begin the new expedition of human exploration on the Moon with its most powerful unmanned rocket to circle the moon in an orbit that will get it deep into space before it turns to Earth after more than 42 days.

The mission, named Artemis 1, will be launched in the two-hour launch window opening at 8:33 am EDT (6:03 pm as per Indian time) on Monday with NASA predicting weather to remain 70% favourable.

Here we have presented a ten-point summary of the mission to give a clear and concise overview of the mission, its significance and future scope.

The goal

NASA’s Artemis Missions aim to send the first woman and first person of colour to the Moon as early as 2025. Of the three missions planned till now, Artemis I will be an unmanned flight test of the Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft around the Moon.

“We’re going back to the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration… We will collaborate with commercial and international partners and establish the first long-term presence on the Moon,” said NASA.

Mission objectives

NASA says that there are three major goals to be achieved under the Artemis mission.

With Artemis, NASA is trying to build on over 50 years of exploration experience to reignite America’s passion for discovery.

Through these missions, NASA aims to enable a growing lunar economy by fuelling new industries, supporting job growth, and furthering the demand for a skilled workforce.

NASA aims to explore more of the Moon than ever before with its commercial and international partners. It wants to engage and inspire new audiences.

What does Artemis mean

The Apollo programme which landed humans on the Moon was named after the Greek God of the Sun because Dr. Abe Silverstein, former director of NASA’s Glenn Research Center, saw an image of Apollo riding his chariot across the Sun.

This mission will try to put the first woman and person of colour on the Moon thus according to Kennedy Space Center ‘is aptly named after the Greek Goddess Artemis, the twin sister of Apollo'. Artemis is the Greek Goddess of the Moon and archery.

Significance of the logo

According to Kennedy Space Center, this mission takes inspiration from the Apollo programme to set a legacy for our new lunar and Martian exploration. It says,

Similar to the Apollo programme logo, the letter “A” dominates the Artemis mission patch. The letter “A” also stands for a rocket launch and an arrowhead from Artemis’ quiver.

The Earth’s crescent is depicted by the blue arc.

The blue arc serves as both a representation of Artemis’ bow and a reminder that Earth is the source of the power and effort that will propel us to the Moon.

The Moon, which Mars uses as a stepping stone, is shown by the grey circle.

The red crossbar of the letter “A” stands for our route to Mars.

Components of the mission

The pivotal components of the mission are:-

The Boeing Co.-built rocket, called the Space Launch System (SLS). For which NASA says that this is the sole rocket that can send Orion, astronauts, and cargo to the Moon on a single mission. It further claims that upon launch, the SLS will be the most powerful rocket in the world.

The Orion crew capsule, manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp. It is the NASA spacecraft that will drive astronauts from Earth to lunar orbit and back.

The Gateway spaceship that will remain in lunar orbit for more than a decade, where astronauts will transfer between Orion and the lander on regular Artemis missions. Like the International Space Station, it will provide a place to live and work, and support long-term science and human exploration on and around the Moon.

A future landing vehicle that will be supplied by Space Exploration Technology Corp. is the final mode of transportation that will take astronauts from lunar orbit to the surface and back to orbit.

When did we last go to the moon ?

The last manned mission to the Moon was 12-day mission Apollo 17, between 7 and 19 December, 1972. According to Royal Museums Greenwich, the reason behind NASA stopping the manned moon missions is due to the need for huge monetary expenditure. “With the goal achieved (in the earlier missions) NASA faced large funding cuts making the future of the Apollo missions untenable. There had originally been 20 Apollo missions planned, but technological and research based missions were not seen as important as the achievement of the Moon landing itself, and the final three missions were cancelled.”

High stakes

A Bloomberg report says that the stakes are high for both NASA and its corporate contractors. It reads that the introduction of a new flagship spacecraft and system by NASA for manned spaceflight is a first since the end of the Space Shuttle programme. Since then, NASA had relied on Russia’s Soyuz rocket to get humans to and from the International Space Station. Thereafter, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon crew capsule are used.

The delay

The Bloomberg report mentions that the return of NASA to moon missions has followed a long and tortuous path on Earth. It says so because multiple governments have proposed ambitious human spaceflight programmes after Apollo, only to cancel it due to budget crunch. This mission has been successful to get Congressional support to keep going, but has been embarrassed by high-profile setbacks.

Huge Cost

The Space Launch System’s development got delayed by five years before completing after a decade. With this, the report says, according to an estimate by the Planetary Society, the rocket development cost went up from the original $7 billion to about $23 billion.

Future missions

The next mission, Artemis II will be the first crewed flight test of the Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft around the Moon. Artemis III and the subsequent missions under planning will aim for regular cadence with crew on and around the Moon.

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