The US space agency reported that it completed the spacecraft assembly on the SLS rocket to continue with the last stage of the next launch to the natural satellite.
NASA reported on October 22 that next February would attempt to send its unmanned mission to the Moon Artemis I. The first stage will be formalized in the United States to take people to the celestial body.
“The mission, known as Artemis I, will pave the way for a future flight test with the crew before NASA establishes a regular cadence of more complex missions with astronauts on and around the Moon under Artemis,” the special agency reported. It’s a statement.
This crucial mission, which will mark the start of the Artemis program, was initially planned for the end of the year. NASA hoped to be able to carry it out with astronauts on board in 2024 at Artemis III. However, the schedule was delayed.
Until this Friday, it said it would be ready by February 2022, after securing the Orion spacecraft on the Space Launch System ( SLS, Space Launch System) rocket. The integrated system is entering the final phase of preparations.
“It is difficult to put into words what this milestone means, not just for us here at Exploration Ground Systems, but for all the incredibly talented people who have worked so hard to help us get to this point,” said Mike Bolger, program director. Exploration Ground Systems.
“Our team has shown tremendous dedication preparing for the launch of Artemis I. While work is still underway to launch, with ongoing integrated testing and dress rehearsals. Seeing a fully decorated SLS is definitely a reward for all of us.
Following the tests, the mega-rocket, which is more than 98 meters high and is housed inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, will be moved to the launch pad for final testing in January.
“For the first time, each test mission will examine the rocket and spacecraft as an integrated system, build on each other and mimic the platform to prepare for launch day,” NASA said.
Mike Sarafin, head of the Artemis I mission, assured that the launch period begins on February 12, and the last opportunity to do so will be on February 27. The following windows will be in March and April. These possible launch periods depend on the orbital mechanics and the Earth’s relative position concerning its natural satellite.
It will also deploy a series of small satellites, known as CubeSats, to conduct experiments and technology demonstrations.
NASA says that the astronauts who will go to the Moon will be the first woman and the first person of color to make that trip.
Although it is likely to be delayed, Artemis II has technically scheduled for 2023 and Artemis III for 2024, which would mark humanity’s return to the Moon for the first time since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
“Artemis I will provide a foundation for human exploration of deep space and demonstrate our commitment and ability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond before the first crewed flight on Artemis II,” the space agency said.
NASA seeks to establish a sustainable presence on the Moon and use the lessons learned to plan a crewed trip to Mars in the 2030s.