The Artemis programme, NASA’s new moon mission

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The Artemis programme, NASA’s new moon mission

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) rolled out its Artemis I moon mission to the launchpad for testing at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, United States.
  • The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion capsule of the mission were hurled out to the launchpad by NASA’s Crawler-Transporter 2 vehicle.

What is the Artemis mission?

  • NASA’s Artemis mission is touted as the next generation of lunar exploration, and is named after the twin sister of Apollo from Greek mythology. Artemis is also the goddess of the moon.
  • Artemis I is the first of NASA’s deep space exploration systems. It is an uncrewed space mission where the spacecraft will launch on SLS — the most powerful rocket in the world — and travel 2,80,000 miles from the earth for over four to six weeks during the course of the mission.
  • The Orion spacecraft is going to remain in space without docking to a space station, longer than any ship for astronauts has ever done before.
  • With the Artemis programme, NASA aims to land humans on the moon by 2024, and it also plans to land the first woman and first person of colour on the moon.
  • NASA will establish an Artemis Base Camp on the surface and a gateway in the lunar orbit to aid exploration by robots and astronauts.
  • The gateway is a critical component of NASA’s sustainable lunar operations and will serve as a multi-purpose outpost orbiting the moon.

Other Agency involved

  • The Canadian Space Agency has committed to providing advanced robotics for the gateway.
  • The European Space Agency will provide the International Habitat and the ESPRIT module, which will deliver additional communications capabilities among other things.

What is mission Trajectory

  • The spacecraft will deploy the interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS), a liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen-based propulsion system that will give Orion the thrust needed to leave the earth’s orbit and travel towards the moon.

What are the future missions in the Artemis programme?

  • The second flight under the programme will have crew on board and will test Orion’s critical systems with humans onboard.
  • Eventually, the learnings from the Artemis programme will be utilised to send the first astronauts to Mars.