NASA assembles massive rocket to fly around Moon before manned missions resume

The Orion spacecraft, which will orbit the Moon as part of NASA's Artemis mission, is now fully loaded into the Space Launch System (SLS).


DNA Web Team

Updated: Oct 25, 2021, 05:22 PM IST

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A spaceship will execute a test launch around the natural satellite before humans return, paving the way for mankind's anticipated long-term settlement. The Orion spacecraft, which will orbit the Moon as part of NASA's Artemis mission, is now fully loaded into the Space Launch System (SLS), which will launch to the lunar surface in February 2022.

Following the completion of the spacecraft stacking on the rocket, NASA will commence a series of connected tests in preparation for the mission. For the first time, the tests will perform the analysis as a unified system, building on one another and concluding in a simulation on the launch pad to begin preparing for launch day.

According to NASA, Artemis-I will lay the groundwork for future deep space travel and establish the potential to extend human civilization to the Moon and even beyond.

Mike Bolger, Exploration Ground Systems programme manager, has said, “It’s hard to put into words what this milestone means, not only to us here at Exploration Ground Systems but to all the incredibly talented people who have worked so hard to help us get to this point. Our team has demonstrated tremendous dedication in preparing for the launch of Artemis-I.”



About the Artemis Mission

The Artemis mission, headed by the United States, is one of the largest human space research missions ever conducted.

Two astronauts will take the first ever ride to the Moon's surface from lunar orbit, reaching where no mankind has ever gone before: the lunar South Pole.

NASA will return to the lunar surface as part of the mission, landing the first woman and first person of colour on the Moon. The agency intends to construct a campsite on the moon's surface as well as a fly base in orbit, allowing drones and people to “explore more and do more science than ever before”.

Starting in 2024, NASA intends to deploy a team to the Moon around once a year.

What is the Orion Spacecraft?

The Orion spacecraft was designed to transport passengers and freight on outer space missions, starting with the Moon. The spaceship will take part in a succession of progressively difficult missions. Over the course of nearly three weeks, an unmanned craft Orion will go thousands of kilometres beyond the Moon, laying the stage for later missions with astronauts.

It will take the crew to space, provide urgent abort capabilities, support astronauts throughout their operations, and ensure safe re-entry from outer space return velocities. A service module will provide power, inclination control, and high altitude climb aborts for the Orion spacecraft.

Orion can take four humans beyond low-Earth orbit with maximum capacity, offering a safe environment from launch to landing and rescue. In addition to providing water, oxygen, and nitrogen for the living environment, the service module also creates and reserves power while in orbit.

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