NASA has released all the launch opportunities for the Artemis 1 mission in 2022.
The Artemis 1 moon rocket could lift off for a round-the-moon mission as soon as July 26, although the agency has plotted out dozens of launch possibilities between then and December 22, with even more launch options to the moon through June 2023.
If the Space Launch System passes its wet dress rehearsal, and if the Kennedy Space Center can overcome the problems that required a roll from the launch pad to the Vehicle Assembly Building on April 26, these dates will be valid.
NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission explained in photos
NASA said in a post May 13 that engineers are working to address the hydrogen leak in the umbilical lines and found a damaged O-ring seal that underwent replacement.
The dates following the July 26 to August 10 window are based on preliminary analysis of the factors needed to get the mission ready for crewed missions to the moon later in the 2020s. The full Artemis 1 launch window calendar can be downloaded as a PDF.
The launch windows will remain in 2022.
The launch windows for Artemis flights are here.
In addition to the launch opportunities based on orbital mechanics and performance requirements, there also is an operational constraint driven by infrastructure at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Because of their size, the sphere-shaped tanks used to store cryogenic propellant at the launch pad can only supply a limited number of launch attempts depending on the type of propellant. The core stage tanking process only allows for three maximum launch attempts per week.
Engineers must wait 48 hours to make a second launch attempt because liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen are loaded into the core stage and upper stage on launch day. Due to the need to refill the storage sphere with more propellant from nearby sources, a third attempt must wait an additional 72 hours.
NASA has four main constraints when it comes to planning launch dates.
The first thing to do is to make sure that the moon is within reach of the SLS rocket's upper stage, which will perform a trans-lunar injection. In a distant retrograde, Orion will fly. The moon will be in the opposite direction to the one that spins.
The second constraint is to make sure that the solar panels are not out of the sun for more than 90 minutes so that the spacecraft has enough electricity to operate and to stay at a healthy temperature range. Orbital dynamicists must take into account the positions of the Earth, moon and sun, as well as the state of charge on the battery, to plot this out properly.
The third constraint is making sure that the skip entry can be performed when returning to Earth. The upper part of Earth's atmosphere will be used to slow down a bit while skipping deliberately out of the atmosphere. It will return for the final descent and splashdown.
NASA stated that the technique allows engineers to locate the splashdown location and help lower thegravity loads astronauts will experience.
After splashdown, daylight recovery conditions must be allowed to assist in recovery operations. When people are on board, this will be crucial.
The launching date of the mission will determine how long it lasts. The mission will either be between 26 and 28 days or between 38 and 42 days.
The mission duration is varied by performing either a half lap or 1.5 laps around the Moon before returning to Earth.
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