Friday, June 2

The rocket of the return to the Moon, in the take-off tower of Cape Canaveral for the final tests

Artemis 1, on launch pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center. / NASA/Joel Kowsk

Science | Space

The launch of the unmanned Artemis 1 mission is scheduled for May or June. The first humans will return to the Moon on the third flight of the program, never before 2025

Luis Alfonso Gamez

The Artemis 1 mission rocket, the first of NASA’s new manned flights to the Moon program, is now on launch pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for final tests. The test will last two days in which their tanks will be refueled, there will be a complete countdown, the countdown clock will be reset several times and finally the fuel will be drained. The launch of the unmanned mission is scheduled for May or June.

The largest rocket ever built, 111 meters high and 130 tons, left at 22:47 yesterday from the Vehicle Assembly Building of the Kennedy Space Center mounted on a caterpillar. On top of it, it made its 6.7-kilometer journey from the hangar to the launch ramp, at a maximum speed of 1.6 kilometers per hour. The transfer ended at 9:15 a.m.

Artemisa 1 is made up of the space launch system (SLS) and the Orion capsule, with capacity for four astronauts and whose service module is European-made. The SLS itself consists of a main rocket and two boosters that will launch the Orion spacecraft towards the Moon at a speed of 39,400 kilometers per hour, according to NASA. The mission will be the first real joint test of the thrusters and the space capsule, which will splash down in the Pacific Ocean on its return.

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Moon landing not before 2025

Staff from the Florida Launch Control Center, the Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, the Space Force East Test Range and the Space Force Engineering Support Center will work on this weekend’s tests. SLS in Huntsville, Alabama. The system’s tanks will be loaded with 2.7 million liters of liquid hydrogen and oxygen as on launch day and the countdown will be rehearsed, including briefings, validation checks…

Once the launch time is reached, the controllers will turn back the clock to T-10 minutes (10 minutes before liftoff) and resume the countdown, which will be interrupted 10 seconds before engine start to show that such an extreme is possible. After the tests, the system will return to the vehicle assembly building, where the sensors used in the tests will be removed, the spacecraft will be put back on track and new tests will be carried out before the definitive transfer of Artemisa 1 to the launch pad once week before this.

Artemis 1 will be the first of, in principle, the first three missions of the new program of manned flights to the Moon. The Orion capsule, which will be empty on this flight, will orbit the satellite and come within 100 kilometers of its surface during a mission that will last between four and six weeks. Artemis 2, already manned, will take place at the earliest in May 2024 and will be a similar flight, but lasting ten days and with four astronauts on the ship. NASA’s most optimistic forecasts suggest that the first woman to set foot on the Moon will do so no earlier than 2025 on the Artemis 3 mission, in which a SpaceX lunar descent vehicle will be added to the SLS and the Orion spacecraft. by Elon Musk.

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