The Artemis-1 mission is the first step in man’s return to the moon. NASA’s goal is to test the new SLS carrier system and the Orion capsule, which will fly around the moon during its multi-week journey, demonstrating its readiness to take the first astronauts on board a spacecraft during the Artemis 2 mission.
The first lunar mission of the Artemis program is scheduled for no later than June of this year. Placing the SLS missile on the launch site and performing a general test consisting of refueling the carrier system, performing a test calculation (the clock stops ten seconds before the end of the countdown) and hundreds of secondary tests before launch. History, which has been repeatedly transmitted in the past, without significant changes. After training for eight to nine days, the SLS and Orion pod will remain on the LC38B platform and the vehicle will be returned to the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) where the engineers involved in the project will assess whether any modifications should be made in advance of launch.
There is no doubt that we are in a golden age of space exploration, discovery and creativity. It all starts with the Artemis-1 mission
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson
The Artemis-1 mission will be launched no later than June of this year. The start date of the mission will also affect the schedule for the next operation, this time manned – Artemis 2. This is due to the fact that it will largely be based on information and experience gained during the first unmanned flight of the New Moon program. The minimum time between two operations also sets the mandated period from 20 to 21 months, which is also intended to help with restraint and to have NASA engineers spend that time sufficiently preparing the remaining teams for a manned mission.
Originally, the SLS rocket was supposed to take off in 2016, but due to the downtime associated with failures of system components and slowdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were schedule changes in 2020. Difficulties also affected the development of the Orion capsule Or design and produce custom-made space suits. Now everything will depend on the tests on the launcher.
In conjunction with NASA’s efforts to keep the 100-meter rocket launch scheduled for June, further tests are taking place at SpaceX’s facility in Boca Chica. There, the completed assembly consisting of the lower unit – Booster 4 and higher – Shipa 20 has undergone partial cooling testing in recent days. It consists in partial filling (20, 30 percent) of the tanks of both stages of the rocket with a liquid cooled to extremely low temperatures (liquid nitrogen or liquid oxygen) to simulate the fuel supplied during refueling, in order to check the tightness and strength of the installation and chassis of the fueled vehicle. Moreover, this was the first cryogenic refueling of a compact assembly – so far, each member has been refilled individually. It was also found that the first stage, formerly known as Super Heavy, would hold the weight of the higher stage.
Continuing the theme of the Starship system, it is worth combining this issue with the cosmodrome of Florida. A long time ago, Elon Muska suggested the infrastructure could be built in Florida, near the civilian and military launch center at Cape Canaveral. These considerations are mainly due to the FAA’s lengthy environmental assessment of Boca Chica, which is required to launch a space launch from a place that was previously unprepared for such missions and was (and to some extent still is) inhabited by local residents. SpaceX, taking into account the potentially unfavorable assessment of the FAA, is working on a new launch site in Florida – land leveling and production of the launch tower section is in progress. Undoubtedly, this step has not affected the work on the Starship program so far, but to some extent it will make additional actions for Elon Musk dependent on the decision of the owner of the territory, that is, the US space agency.
To summarize – if SpaceX expands its launch infrastructure in Florida, the launch of the Starship rocket will have to be consulted with NASA, so it cannot be excluded that future flights of SLS rockets will take precedence over commercial projects, which could lead to some kind of competition for the launch complex.
Collaboration: Kacper Bakuła
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