The Orion spacecraft and the European service module that are part of NASA’s Artemis I moon mission and its launch date has been set for August 29 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Artemis I will test the Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket and the Orion spacecraft to make sure they work well before astronauts take a similar trip in a few years, some of them even to the surface of the moon if NASA’s plans for the moon come true.

The upcoming release is the result of a lot of testing and planning over more than a decade. Rick LaBrode, the Artemis 1 principal flight director at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, said live on Friday that his team had worked very hard for a very long time to get to this point.

Artemis I’ll be there for the first launch of the SLS and only the second launch of Orion, which went into orbit around Earth in 2014. If everything goes as planned, the SLS mega rocket will blast through the air on August 29 and reach orbit in only 8.5 minutes. The upper stage of the huge rocket will put Orion into a translunar injection orbit about 80 to 90 minutes after launch.

If Orion launches on August 29, these milestones will be the start of 42 days full of exciting things to do in space. “There’s no time to stop and take a breath. We really started to move, “said Judd Frieling, who was in charge of Artemis 1’s climb and landing for JSC.

As Orion moves toward the Moon, the SLS upper stage will be responsible for sending scientific objects to the Moon and moving itself into an orbit around the sun. Orion will point to a retrograde lunar orbit . She will stay there for a few weeks, and then the gravity of the moon will help her get back to Earth.

On Artemis I, there are three main targets for the spaceship. Each is meant to show resistance. Members of the mission team want Orion to show that it can safely return through Earth’s atmosphere, that it can work reliably in a “flight environment” from launch to splashdown, and that it can keep astronauts safe inside while they recover after coming home.

Activities like taking selfies in front of its solar panels will be used to keep people interested during the long trip. “When we get to the point where we’re really farther than any human-rated spacecraft, farther than any of the Apollo vehicles went, we want to show that to the public,” LaBrode said.

The Orion mission will end with a high-speed re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere, with the goal of splashing down off the coast of San Diego. You will use a parachute to land in the Pacific Ocean, and just before you hit the water, you will do a “landing orientation” move to make sure you hit the waves at the right angle.

There, the power to the vehicle will be turned on for about two hours to see how well Orion keeps astronauts cool. NASA officials said that a US Navy ship will then fish Orion out of the water and bring it back to land.

Artemis 3 to touch down moon surface in 2025

After the mission, SLS and Orion will be looked at for months to make sure they are ready to carry people. According to the current plan, Artemis 2 will send a crew into lunar orbit in 2024, and Artemis 3, which will be the first human landing on the moon since Apollo 17 in 1972, won’t touch down on the surface before 2025.

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