After Artemis I launched at the end of 2022, the hype surrounding seemed to quiet down for a moment—but this story is far from over.
In fact, the most exciting days of Artemis are still ahead. Here’s how Artemis fared on its first flight, and what it means for the future of the program.
How the first flight went
Engineers have been working hard to analyze the loads of data collected about Artemis I and its performance. After doing so, things are looking very optimistic.
“Both initial and more comprehensive analysis of the SLS rocket’s debut flight show the rocket flew as designed and with precision, with all of its systems meeting, and in many cases exceeding, performance expectations.”NASA’s Website
Pretty impressive for a 1.4 million-mile trip—and yes, that’s beyond the moon.
However, NASA has observed a couple of issues that they are currently examining. They are inspecting the heat shield, where the, “ablative material that helps protect the capsule from the extreme heat of reentry wore away differently than predicted” (NASA). In addition, they observed that “latching current limiters switched open without commanding several times throughout the mission” (NASA).
As NASA looks into these issues and works hard to resolve them, they are continuing to make progress on the next step—sending humans back to the moon.
With Artemis I deemed a success, it’s time to start looking forward to what’s next—and yes, there’s astronauts involved.
“NASA’s uncrewed Artemis I flight test proved the agency’s deep space rocket, spacecraft, and the ground systems needed for launch and recovery are ready to fly astronauts on missions to the Moon.”NASA’s Website
Next is Artemis II, expected to launch late 2024. That flight will be another test, but this time with a crew. There will be four astronauts on board the Artemis II mission, which will launch from Kennedy Space Center. Those astronauts will, “travel farther into the solar system than humanity has ever traveled before” as they “confirm all of the spacecraft’s systems operate as designed with crew aboard in the actual environment of deep space” (NASA).
After Artemis II comes Artemis III, which is expected to happen in 2025—and this is where things really get exciting (as if they could get any more exciting for Rocket City folks). Artemis III will put human footprints on the moon once again—and one of them will be from the first female astronaut to set foot on its surface. Not to mention, they’ll be the, “first humans to explore the region near the lunar South Pole” (NASA).
And, as a fun teaser to that thrilling day, NASA is unveiling the spacesuit prototype that the astronauts will be wearing as they step onto the moon. Here’s the details for how you can watch the unveiling online.
- Date: Wednesday, March 15, 9:30AM (CST)
- Watch on NASA Television, the NASA App or on the NASA Live page
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