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Return to the Moon: Artemis I, when and at what time it will be launched

This is all you need to know about the mission that will take humankind back to the Moon.

NASA is making final preparations to begin flight tests that are expected to take the man back to the Moon in 2024. Artemis I is the first phase in a list of three, which is primarily focused on testing the space agency’s new state-of-the-art super rocket, along with the spacecraft that will transport humans to the natural satellite. The two vehicles are now ready on the launch pad for testing over the next few days.

When will Artemis I launch?

The Artemis I mission represents the opening of a new era of aerospace exploration and is ready to launch in the next few days. The mission’s main objective is to test the proper functioning of a system composed of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the Orion spacecraft, and ground systems at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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This will be the first unmanned flight to the Moon, which will show that the multi-part system can perform safely for humans to later board.

NASA is scheduled to launch Artemis I on August 29, 2022. It will be on this day that SLS will lift off from pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. The aerospace agency has said that liftoff is scheduled for 8:33 a.m. EDT, weather permitting.

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It should be noted that for the liftoff to be successful, both technical and meteorological conditions must be adequate. This is why NASA has reported a window of two hours from the indicated time for SLS and Orion to be launched. This means that the launch of Artemis I could occur on August 29 between 8:33 and 10:33 EDT.

As of today, there is a 70% chance of good weather at launch time, however, these are uncontrollable factors so anything can happen. In addition, as this is the first test of an integrated system, there is another possibility that the devices will encounter technical difficulties.

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“The test fight itself carries inherent risk,” said Jim Free, NASA’s associate administrator for exploration systems development. “This is the first flight of a new rocket and a new spacecraft.”

What happens if Artemis I don’t get off the ground on Aug. 29?

In the event that a technical or meteorological obstacle should arise during this time frame that prevents the launch of Artemis I on August 29, NASA has two other dates to complete the mission. The first is Friday, September 2, while the second is Monday, September 5, but each day has its own stipulated window of time to complete the launch.

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If NASA is forced to launch Artemis I on September 2, the attempt will be made at 12:48 EDT, also with a two-hour window to complete the launch. This date has a drawback: if Artemis I were to be launched on Friday, September 2, NASA would have to accept a shorter mission than planned, 39 days instead of a 42-day flight as scheduled.

The Sept. 5 date has its own drawbacks in that it would leave a window of less time than the previous 90 minutes. In the event that Artemis I could not lift off on the previous dates, it would be launched on September 5 at 17:12 EDT, with the advantage of a full 42-day mission as planned.

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The choice of launch days is not arbitrary but responds to a number of factors such as the position of the Moon in its Earth orbit; as well as lighting conditions for the Orion spacecraft since it is solar-powered and cannot remain in darkness for more than 90 minutes at a time.

If you wish to follow the Artemis I launch live, you can do so through NASA’s official YouTube channel.

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Story originally published in Ecoosfera

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