One last time before launch, NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission is going to return to the pad.
On August 18th, the Artemis 1 stack will travel from Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building to the launch site. The launch of Artemis 1 will take place no later than August 29th.
If NASA's plans come to fruition, Artemis 1 will put the Space Launch System megarocket through their paces to ensure reliability before astronauts take a similar ride a few years from now.
More than a decade of planning preceded the coming launch.
"Our teams have been working extremely hard for a long time to get to this point," Rick LaBrode, lead Artemis 1 flight director at NASA's Johnson Space Center, said in a livestreamed briefing. He said the mission is very special. We're thrilled.
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It will be the first-ever launch for the SLS and just the second for ORION. If everything goes according to plan, the SLS will fly through the atmosphere in less than an hour. About 90 minutes after liftoff, the rocket's upper stage will deploy the spaceship into a translunar injection.
If liftoff occurs on August 29th, the 42 days in space will begin. There is a slight change in the mission timing depending on the launch date.
We don't have time to catch our breaths. Judd Frieling said that they hit the ground running.
The SLS upper stage will have to deploy cubesats for lunar and other science as it pushes itself into an elliptical path around the sun.
The moon will be hit by a retrograde moon. The journey back to Earth will take several weeks after it gets a gravity assist from the moon.
Each of the three goals on Artemis 1 is designed to show endurance. Mission team members want to show that it can come back through Earth's atmosphere safely, that it can work consistently in a "flight environment" from launch to splashdown, and that it can keep astronauts safe during the return.
Outreach activities like taking selfies of its solar panels will try to keep the public engaged for the long journey.
When we get to the point where we're actually the furthest away that any human-rated spaceship has ever been, we want to capture that in a public affairs event.
NASA's Artemis moon landing worked.
A splashdown site off the coast of San Diego will be the final major milestone of the mission. It will descend into the Pacific Ocean under parachutes before sliding into the ocean waves at the right angle.
The vehicle power will stay on for about two hours to test how well it works. NASA officials said that a U.S. Navy ship would catch the craft in the water after it was recovered.
It will take months of analysis to make sure SLS and Orion are ready to carry humans. The current schedule calls for Artemis 2 to land on the moon in 2024 and for Artemis 3 to land on the moon no earlier than 25 years later.
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