The first mention of the SLS missile project appeared in July 2011. NASA and the United States needed a replacement for the shuttles that were retired that year. We had to wait over 11 years for the first rocket launch, and the past few months have been a tangle of disasters and failures that nearly delayed the launch by another year.
Here is a brief timeline of the fate of the Artemis program in 2022 only:
- 2.02 – the first delay in moving the missile from the hangar to the launch pad. The launch date is set for April-May.
- 17.03 – SLS I Orion leaves the hangar and embarks on an 11-hour 6.4 km flight. The next day, the rocket is already on launch pad 39B.
- 3.04 – The day before the refueling test is to take place, a storm passes over Cape Canaveral. 4 screws hit the starting position. The time window closes. The test is paused.
- 13.04 – resumption of refueling procedures, 3 failures during refueling with liquid oxygen and hydrogen. The test has been cancelled.
- 26.04 – the rocket returns to the hangar to eliminate defects.
- 10.06 – Artemis I returns to the launch pad.
- 18.06 – another attempt to refuel. Another fuel leak and grass fire on the launch pad.
- 21.06 – Fill all SLS tanks. The main refueling test has been successfully completed.
- 20.07 – new start date set for August 29th.
- 29.08 – start was delayed due to another hydrogen leak. After removing the leak, engine #3 failed.
- 3.09 – Resume start countdown. This time, 3 more attempts to eliminate the hydrogen leak and the decision to cancel the launch.
- 21.09 – Elimination of defects and successful refueling test. The start date is set for 27.09.2019
- Sept. 26 – Hurricane Ian approaches Florida. NASA decides to hide the rocket in the hangar. Another attempt to start as early as November.
- 11.15 – start-up procedures resumed, tanks filling successfully completed.
- 16.11 – At 07:47 Polish time, the Artemis I mission leaves the launch pad. This is the first launch of the SLS rocket, originally planned for 2017.
There were no major errors or delays during the mission. As planned, the Orion capsule plunged into the waters of the Pacific Ocean on December 11 after 26 days of spaceflight. After 50 years, we have the opportunity to see pictures of the Earth’s rise. Once again, we can feel how small our cosmic home is compared to the immensity of the universe. You can find a detailed description of the task here here.
According to a report by Paul Martin, Inspector General of NASAwhich audited the project’s cash register, said more than $40 billion had already been spent by the start of the first mission. By 2025so until the planned launch of the third mission and the first landing of a man on the moon since 1972, the costs of the Artemis program will be very high. 93 billion dollars!
What caused such high costs and delays? The report also answers this question with audit findings. He blames Martin for the costs incurred Poor organization of work at Boeing factories Responsible for building SLS. It also indicates poor choice of cooperation model and Very generous contracts for subcontractors.
The gloomy picture of the financial side of the program’s development is complemented by claims formulated directly at NASA. Among them, inadequate contract enforcement and Project management errors.
Shortly after the report was published, Boeing responded to the allegations. The company’s authorities dismissed the allegations against themselves and presented their own accounts, fancifully, though not very specific. Boeing representatives, among other things, explained this Higher costs are caused, for example, by inflation.
Since 2012, the spaceflight sector has changed due to the growth of private companies. Especially SpaceX companies. During the International Astronautical Congress in 2016, the CEO of SpaceX announced Build an interplanetary transportation system. Its end products will be Starship super heavy rocket and manned spacecraft.
Starship has already made several test flights. The combination of Starship and Super Heavy, after the delay, is to go into orbit in the first quarter of 2023. If that really happens, then SpaceX will catch up with the NASA project, although construction work began four years later. In its largest form, a rocket SpaceX also has more than twice the lift of the SLS.
Elon Musk’s design is completely recyclable. Both ships and missiles will return to Earth in one piece, on the ground, and after inspection and refueling, ready for further flights. SLS and Orion ‘disposable’. Each subsequent launch is the construction of a new ship and carrier rocket.
In 2012, NASA officials estimated the cost of launching an SLS rocket at $500 million. Since then, the cost of one mission has increased more than 8 times. Elon Musk estimates that the duo will go live Super Heavy Starship will involve an account About 10 million dollars. The difference is shocking. The idea of building an SLS seems to be one of the most expensive mistakes in history.
The debate over the advisability of manned spaceflight and even space exploration by robots has been going on for decades.. Opponents of space programs often point to the economic argument. Why spend billions of dollars when we face so many problems on Earth?
Enthusiasts apart from appealing to ideals like exploring new lands And seek to understand the place of man in the universe Refers to the development of science. There are measurable benefits Technologies that would not have been developed without spaceflight.
Since the 1970s, NASA has been publishing the “Spinoff” bulletinIn which every year it presents a list of emerging technological solutions along with the development of the space industry, which serve people in daily life. Some examples include:
- satellite technology – from phones and GPS to irrigation system design and natural disaster forecasting;
- cochlear implants and prostheses;
- CMOS arrays (light-sensitive systems) – used in cameras, cameras, x-rays and many others;
- memory foam – for lovers of a comfortable sleep;
Talk about the legitimacy of the Artemis programHowever, it is appropriate to refer to its great predecessor, the Chain Apollo mission. Although John F. Kennedy, in his famous speech announcing the landing plan at the Silver Globe, was mainly guided by aspects of rivalry with the Soviet Union, The Apollo program changed much more.
The broadcasts, which were watched by tens of millions of people, initiated a series of social changes. Its value cannot be measured in any currency. On the day of the Apollo 11 landing, the world changed.
The approach to the planet has changed. The environmental movement and social consciousness are emerging responsibility for her fate. Something that seemed impossible in the consciousness of our species for hundreds of thousands of years became a reality in a few days in July. We can only guess how humanity will change after establishing a foothold on another planet and Transformation into an interplanetary type.
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