Madrid, 16 years old (Europe Press)
Artemis I is the first integrated flight test of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, uncrewed Orion spacecraft, and ground systems at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center. The mission will pave the way for future manned test flight and human exploration of the moon as part of the Artemis program.
Liftoff took place at 0648 UTC, 44 minutes later than expected because the countdown had stopped at T-10 minutes because the computer connection had to be replaced and intermittent leaks were discovered hours before the stage refueled. hydrogen and oxygen.
After Hurricane Nicole, which delayed this launch by two days, teams conducted extensive assessments of the rocket, spacecraft, and associated ground systems and confirmed that there were no significant impacts from severe weather. The SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft reached Kennedy Launch Pad 39B on November 4 and rode out the storm there. Engineers brought the missile back into the hangar on September 26 before Hurricane Ian and after two previous launch attempts were rejected: on August 29 due to a faulty temperature sensor and on September 4 due to a liquid hydrogen leak at the interface between the missile and the mobile launcher. Before returning to the hangar, the crew successfully repaired the leak and demonstrated updated refueling procedures. While in the hangar, the crew performed standard maintenance to repair minor foam and cork damage to the thermal protection system and recharge or replace batteries throughout the system.
During this flight, the Orion spacecraft will fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans. It will travel more than 450,000 kilometers from Earth, thousands of kilometers beyond the Moon and stay in space longer than any spaceship without docking with a space station and return to Earth faster and hotter than ever before.
Almost a hundred meters high
Designed for missions beyond low Earth orbit to ferry crew or cargo to the moon and beyond, the SLS rocket, which stands 98 meters high in its initial configuration, produces 8.8 million pounds of thrust during liftoff. And the ascent into orbit of a vehicle weighing nearly six million pounds. Powered by a pair of five-segment boosters and four RS-25 engines, the missile reaches peak stature in ninety seconds. After the boosters, service module flaps, and launch abort system are eliminated, the primary stage engines are shut down and the primary stage separates from the spacecraft.
As the spacecraft orbits Earth, it will deploy its solar arrays and the Interim Cooled Propulsion Stage (ICPS) will give Orion the big boost it needs to leave Earth’s orbit and travel to the Moon. Then, Orion will separate from ICPS about two hours after launch. ICPS will then deploy a series of small satellites, known as CubeSats, to conduct various experiments and technical demonstrations.
As Orion continues on its way from Earth’s orbit to the Moon, it will be propelled by a service module provided by the European Space Agency, which provides the spacecraft’s main propulsion system and power (in addition to air and gas). water for astronauts on future missions). Orion will pass through the Van Allen radiation belts, fly through the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite constellation, and over Earth-orbiting communications satellites. To connect to Mission Control in Houston, Orion will switch from NASA’s system for transmitting data, tracking satellites, and communicating via the Deep Space Network. From here, Orion will continue to demonstrate its design for navigation, communication, and operation in a deep space environment. On board the ship carries two dummies loaded with sensors to record the effects of flight on humans.
The one-way trip to the moon will take several days, during which engineers will evaluate the spacecraft’s systems and, if necessary, correct its course. Orion will fly 100 kilometers above the moon’s surface, then use the moon’s gravitational pull to propel itself into a new, deep backward orbit, or vice versa, about 70,000 kilometers from the moon.
The spacecraft will remain in that orbit for about six days to collect data and allow mission controllers to evaluate the spacecraft’s performance. During this period, Orion will move in a retrograde direction around the Moon from the direction the Moon travels around Earth.
For the return trip to Earth, Orion will perform another close flyby that will bring the spacecraft to within 60 miles of the lunar surface, and the spacecraft will use another precisely timed ignition engine from the Europa-provided service module in conjunction with the moon’s gravity to accelerate the return toward Earth. This maneuver will put the spacecraft on its return trajectory to Earth to enter our planet’s atmosphere at 11 kilometers per second, producing temperatures of approximately 2,760 degrees Celsius. The Orion ship will finally crash into the Pacific Ocean.
Artemis’ second flight, now fully crewed, will fly a different trajectory and test critical Orion systems with humans on board. The SLS rocket will evolve from an initial configuration capable of sending more than 26 metric tons to the Moon, to a final configuration capable of sending at least 45 metric tons. Future crewed exploration missions will be bundled aboard Orion and docked with a future Orbital Lunar Link Station Gateway.
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