Officials announced last week that a Canadian space pilot will join three NASA crew members on the first test flight of the Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft around the moon, becoming the first non-American astronaut to make a trip to the moon.
There will be a second flight opportunity for a Canadian astronaut on a subsequent NASA mission to the International Gateway Station in lunar orbit.
NASA and the Canadian Space Agency announced the Canadian Astronaut Flight Agreement on December 16, as agencies confirmed details of Canada’s contribution to the Gateway, which aims to serve as a waypoint and refueling station for spacecraft and a deep space research center in near the moon.
“Canada will join the United States on the first manned mission to the Moon since the Apollo missions,” said Navdeep Pines, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. Starting in 2023, an astronaut from the Canadian Space Agency will be part of Artemis 2, the first mission to take humans into lunar orbit in more than 50 years. This would make Canada only the second country after the United States to have an astronaut in deep space. “
NASA spokeswoman Monica Witt said the Artemis 2 crew will consist of three NASA astronauts and one Canadian space plane. The Artemis 2 mission is currently slated to launch in 2023.
The signing of the final agreement strengthens Canada’s participation in the NASA-led Artemis program, which aims to return astronauts to the surface of the Moon in the 1920s. The Trump administration has a 2024 timetable target for landing humans on the south pole of the Moon, a timetable that is widely seen as ambitious and could be reset later in 2020 by the incoming Biden administration.
According to NASA’s Artemis engineering, the astronauts will take off from the ground on top of the NASA Space Launch System’s heavy lift rocket, fly to the vicinity of the moon in the Orion capsule, and then attach to a human classed lander for the flight to and from the lunar surface. The astronauts will then return to Earth in the Orion spacecraft.
A settlement base called the Gate, about a sixth the size of the International Space Station, will be assembled in lunar orbit. NASA said the first two US-owned items from the gateway could be launched as soon as the end of 2023, although a report by NASA’s Inspector General in November indicated that the station’s power and propulsion unit launch and the housing division are likely to slip. Until 2024.
Canada plans to build an upgraded robotic arm, called Canadarm3, to be placed on the gate in the 2026 timeframe, according to NASA. The Canadian Space Agency has also formally agreed to provide robotic interfaces for the gateway modules, allowing the elements to host scientific instruments.
“Canada was the first international partner committed to developing the portal in early 2019, and they signed the Artemis Agreements in October, and we are now excited to formalize this partnership for lunar exploration,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein. “This agreement marks an evolution in our collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency that provides the next generation of robots that have supported decades of missions in space aboard the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, and now, for Artemis.”
NASA said that the Canadarm3 robotic arm will be delivered to the portal by a commercial logistics mission. I contracted with SpaceX To fly a larger version of its Dragon charging capsule to the portal in deep space. The Dragon XL will be launched on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy.
“The portal will allow for a strong, ultimately sustainable and enduring human presence on the surface of the Moon where we can demonstrate the many skills, processes and technologies that will be fundamental to future human Mars missions,” said Cathy Louders, Associate Director at NASA. For human exploration and operations.
Advance in this month, NASA announced the selection Of the 18 American astronauts to begin training for the Artemis Lunar missions. NASA has not disclosed the astronauts who will fly on the Artemis 2 mission – the first manned test flight of the Space Launch System and the Orion capsule – or the first lunar landing mission.
Canadian officials have not announced which of the four active astronauts will take a seat on the Artemis 2 mission or the subsequent flight to the Gate.
“Canada is fortunate to have a strong team of highly-trained professional astronauts,” said Lisa Campbell, President of the Canadian Space Agency. “Any one of them would be an excellent choice.” “These decisions are made with all sorts of specific considerations as we approach the journey.”
The Artemis 2 mission will follow an unmanned SLS / Orion test flight, called Artemis 1, scheduled to launch no later than late 2021 on a flight to lunar orbit and back to Earth.
In the Artemis 2 mission, the Orion crew of four will fly a “hybrid free return path” around the moon.
After launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Space Launch System will place the Orion crew capsule into Earth orbit, where astronauts will conduct checks and test the ship’s meeting and docking systems, then launch the Orion Flight Service Module engine to the moon a quarter of a million miles.
The crew will not enter orbit around the moon, but the trajectory will naturally return the Orion spacecraft directly to Earth past the astronaut arc to a distance of 4,600 miles (7,400 kilometers) beyond the far side of the moon, that is, farther from any human. They traveled to space.
The Artemis 2 mission will last approximately 10 days, paving the way for future landing missions and long-term gateway flights.
NASA also works with other international partners in the Artemis program, although these partnerships have yet to result in a firm commitment to flying missions for astronauts from other nations.
The European Space Agency and NASA signed a memorandum of understanding in October to collaborate on the portal. The European Space Agency will provide a housing unit developed with Japan, along with a unit to support improved communications, space refueling, and equipped with a window similar to the European Dome built on the International Space Station.
The European Space Agency is also building service units for the Orion missions. Service units include solar panels to produce electrical power for the vehicle, and fuel tanks to feed the rocket engines into the capsule.
NASA and the Japan Space Exploration Agency have signed a joint exploration declaration of intent to initiate negotiations for Japanese contributions to the Artemis program. In addition to helping the European Space Agency with its housing unit, the Japan Space Agency has also expressed an interest in launching resupply missions to the gateway using the country’s next generation HTV-X freighter.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last year that his country would provide robotic systems for the Gateway Station near the moon. The government has allocated C $ 2.05 billion (roughly $ 1.6 billion) over the next 24 years for Canadarm3 and associated robotic aid.
The four active Canadian astronauts, based at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, have been training for space missions for years. Only one of the four astronauts, David Saint Jacques, has flown into space on the International Space Station.
Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen said: “I am very excited that Canada has the vision and the drive to commit to something we do very well – space robots – (and) to take it to its next development.” “This is a big leap in technology. It has a lot of sporadic effects in terms of artificial intelligence.”
“The international (astronaut) team here in Houston is very excited about the prospects of these missions and the opportunity for the scientific discovery and innovation they represent,” said Joshua Kotrick, one of the four active Canadian astronauts.
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