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Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Artemis 1 Launch Attempt #3 Scheduled for 1:04am on November 16th

Artemis 1 Launch

**10:53pm update** A Red Team is working on a hydrogen leak issue that has yet to be resolved.

If all goes well, NASA will be launching the Artemis 1 unmanned mission Wednesday morning at 1:04am Eastern Time. There is a two-hour window for the launch attempt today. If the rocket does not launch today, the next launch window will be on November 19th.

Artemis 1 will last for six weeks and will test all the rocket stages and spacecraft that would be used in later Artemis missions. After reaching orbit and performing a trans-lunar injection (burn to the Moon), the mission will deploy ten CubeSat satellites and the Orion spacecraft will enter a distant retrograde orbit for six days. The Orion spacecraft will then return and reenter the Earth's atmosphere, protected by its heat shield, and splash down in the Pacific Ocean.

The original launch date of Artemis 1 was planned in December 2016, but it was delayed at least eighteen times due to technical issues with the SLS and the Orion spacecraft. Other factors contributing to the delays are the cost overruns and budget limits imposed by the federal government. After the Artemis 1 mission, Artemis 2 will perform a crewed lunar flyby and Artemis 3 will perform a crewed lunar landing, five decades after the last Apollo mission.

Live video feeds from NASA, NASA Spaceflight, and Everyday Astronaut have been embedded below, along with some information from the NASA Press Packet and explainer videos about this mission from various sources. For more detailed information about this mission, download a PDF of the Artemis 1 Reference Guide from the NASA website.


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NASA Spaceflight

Everyday Astronaut

Mission Overview

Artemis I is the first integrated test of NASA’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I is an uncrewed flight test that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration and demonstrate our commitment and capability to return humans to the Moon and extend beyond.

Leaving Earth

SLS and Orion will blast off from Launch Complex 39B at NASA’s modernized spaceport at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The SLS rocket is designed for missions beyond low-Earth orbit carrying crew or cargo to the Moon and beyond, and will produce 8.8 million pounds of thrust during liftoff and ascent to loft a vehicle weighing nearly six million pounds to orbit. Propelled by a pair of five segment boosters and four RS-25 engines, the rocket will reach the period of greatest atmospheric force within ninety seconds. After jettisoning the boosters, service module panels, and launch abort system, the core stage engines will shut down and the core stage will separate from the spacecraft.

As the spacecraft makes an orbit of Earth, it will deploy its solar arrays and the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) will give Orion the big push needed to leave Earth’s orbit and travel toward the Moon. From there, Orion will separate from the ICPS within about two hours after launch. The ICPS will then deploy a number of small satellites, known as CubeSats, to perform several experiments and technology demonstrations.

On to the Moon

As Orion continues on its path from Earth orbit to the Moon, it will be propelled by a service module provided by the European Space Agency, which will supply the spacecraft’s main propulsion system and power (as well as house air and water for astronauts on future missions). Orion will pass through the Van Allen radiation belts, fly past the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite constellation and above communication satellites in Earth orbit. To talk with mission control in Houston, Orion will switch from NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellites system  and communicate through the Deep Space Network. From here, Orion will continue to demonstrate its unique design to navigate, communicate, and operate in a deep space environment.

The outbound trip to the Moon will take several days, during which time engineers will evaluate the spacecraft’s systems and, as needed, correct its trajectory. Orion will fly about 62 miles (100 km) above the surface of the Moon, and then use the Moon’s gravitational force to propel Orion into a new deep retrograde, or opposite, orbit about 40,000 miles (70,000 km) from the Moon.

The spacecraft will stay in that orbit for approximately six days to collect data and allow mission controllers to assess the performance of the spacecraft. During this period, Orion will travel in a direction around the Moon retrograde from the direction the Moon travels around Earth.

Return and Reentry

For its return trip to Earth, Orion will do another close flyby that takes the spacecraft within about 60 miles of the Moon’s surface, the spacecraft will use another precisely timed engine firing of the European-provided service module in conjunction with the Moon’s gravity to accelerate back toward Earth. This maneuver will set the spacecraft on its trajectory back toward Earth to enter our planet’s atmosphere traveling at 25,000 mph (11 kilometers per second), producing temperatures of approximately 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit (2,760 degrees Celsius) – faster and hotter than Orion experienced during its 2014 flight test.

After about four to six weeks and a total distance traveled exceeding 1.3 million miles, the mission will end with a test of Orion’s capability to return safely to the Earth as the spacecraft makes a precision landing within eyesight of the recovery ship off the coast of Baja, California. Following splashdown, Orion will remain powered for a period of time as divers from the U.S. Navy and operations teams from NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems approach in small boats from the waiting recovery ship. The divers will briefly inspect the spacecraft for hazards and hook up tending and tow lines, and then engineers will tow the capsule into the well-deck of the recovery ship to bring the spacecraft home.

This first Artemis mission will demonstrate the performance of both Orion and the SLS rocket and test our capabilities to orbit the Moon and return to Earth. The flight will pave the way for future missions to the lunar vicinity, including landing the first woman and first person of color on the surface of the Moon.

With Artemis I, NASA sets the stage for human exploration into deep space, where astronauts will build and begin testing the systems near the Moon needed for lunar surface missions and exploration to other destinations farther from Earth, including Mars. With Artemis, NASA will collaborate with industry and international partners to establish long-term exploration for the first time.

Explainer Videos What's The Big Deal About Artemis - NASA's New Massive Moon Rocket | Scott Manley

The Full Plan For Artemis Part 1: The Robotic Missions | Answers With Joe

Artemis I: We Are Ready | NASA

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Published at 10:55pm on Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Author: Bobby Coggins