Washington DC – Following a series of critical contract awards and material milestones, NASA shared a update on its Artemis program, including the latest Phase 1 plans to land the first woman and the next man on the moon’s surface in 2024.
In the 18 months since NASA accepted the bold challenge to accelerate its more than four-year exploration plans and establish sustainable exploration by the end of the decade, the agency has continued to Gain momentum to send humans back to the moon for the first time since the last Apollo lunar mission in 1972.
“With bipartisan support from Congress, our 21st century push to the moon is well within America’s reach,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “As we have further consolidated our exploration plans over the past few months, we have continued to refine our budget and our architecture. We return to the Moon for scientific discoveries, economic benefits and inspiration for a new generation of explorers. As we build a lasting presence, we also create momentum towards those first human steps on the Red Planet. “
In its official plan, NASA captures Artemis’ progress to date, identifying key scientific, technological and human missions, as well as commercial and international partnerships that will allow us to continue to conduct exploration and achieve our goal. ambitious to land astronauts on the moon. .
The agency’s powerful new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), and the Orion spacecraft are closer than ever to their first integrated launch. The spaceship is finished while the main stage and its four attached engines undergo a final series of tests which will culminate in a critical hot fire essay this fall.
First missions of Artemis
After a successful hot-fire test, the main stage will be shipped to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for integration with the spacecraft. NASA to launch SLS and Orion together in two flight tests around the moon to check performance, life sustaining and communication skills. The first mission – known as Artemis I – is on track for 2021 without astronauts, and Artemis II will fly with a crew in 2023.
In the plan for Phase 1, NASA notes additional details about the conduct of a new test during the Artemis II mission – a demonstration of proximity operations. Shortly after Orion separates from the interim cryogenic propulsion stage, astronauts will manually pilot Orion as they approach and away from the stage.
This demonstration will assess Orion’s handling skills and associated hardware and software to provide performance data and operational experience that cannot be easily gained in the field for rendezvous, outreach operations and docking, as well as undocking operations in lunar orbit from Artemis III. .
While preparing for and carrying out these flight test missions, NASA will already be back on the Moon in a robotic fashion – using commercial delivery services send dozens of new scientific research and technology demonstrations to the Moon twice a year starting in 2021.
In 2024, Artemis III will mark the return of humanity to the surface of the Moon – landing the first astronauts on the lunar South Pole. After launch on SLS, astronauts will travel approximately 240,000 miles in lunar orbit aboard Orion, at which time they will board directly aboard one of the new commercial human landing systems, or moor at bridge inspect and refuel before boarding the landing system for shipment to the surface.
Wearing modern spacesuits which allow greater flexibility and movement than their Apollo predecessors, the astronauts will collect samples and conduct a series of science experiments for nearly seven days. Using the lander, they will return to lunar orbit before finally returning home to Earth aboard Orion.
Work is progressing rapidly on the bridge. NASA will integrate the first two components to be launched – the power and propulsion element and the housing and logistics outpost – in 2023. This foundation for the bridge will be able to operate autonomously, driving remotely. Scientific experiences when the astronauts are not on board. NASA has selected the first two scientific instrument suites to conduct surveys of space weather in lunar orbit before crew visits.
Although NASA has not made the final decision to use the bridge for Artemis III, Artemis IV and beyond will send a crew aboard Orion to dock at the bridge, where two crew members can stay at edge of the spacecraft in orbit while two go to the surface. Over time, the outpost will evolve, with new modules added by international partners, allowing crew members to conduct increasingly long lunar missions.
As detailed in the agency’s concept for surface durability earlier this year, a gradual build-up of surface infrastructure will follow later this decade, allowing for longer surface expeditions with more crew. This concept calls for an Artemis base camp that would include new rovers, power systems, habitats and more on the surface for long-term exploration of the Moon.
Throughout the Artemis program, robots and humans will seek out and potentially extract resources such as water that can be converted into other usable resources including oxygen and fuel. By refining precision landing technologies and developing new mobility capabilities, astronauts will travel greater distances and explore new regions of the Moon.
Learn more about NASA’s Artemis program at: