That’s the result of NASA’s Flight Readiness Review, which took place on Monday. The review was an in-depth readiness assessment of the 322-foot-tall (98-meter-high) stack, consisting of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, currently on the Space Center’s launch pad. Kennedy of NASA in Florida. . .
The Artemis team is targeting its first two-hour launch window from 8:33 a.m. ET to 10:33 a.m. ET on Monday, August 29. There are backup release windows on September 2 and September 5.
The “go” after the flight readiness review is a positive sign that things are on track for the mission, but there are still factors over the next week that could affect when it lifts off the pad, including bad weather. .
Very little remains on the to-do list after previous rounds of testing the rocket on the launch pad during the wet dress rehearsal, which simulated every step of the launch without lifting off. There remains one open element that the team will test on launch day, said Mike Sarafin, manager of NASA’s Artemis mission.
The hydrogen jumpstart, used to thermally condition the engines, did not occur during the final wet dress rehearsal, so this process is now a component of the launch countdown. This test will occur during a “quiet point” before the final countdown, said Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, launch manager for Artemis I at the Kennedy Space Center.
The rocket stack arrived at the launch pad on Aug. 17 after a 4-mile (6.4-kilometer) trip aboard one of NASA’s giant Apollo-era trackers from the Vehicle Assembly Building, just as the shuttle missions and the Apollo Saturn V rockets once did. .
The uncrewed Artemis I will launch on a mission that goes beyond the moon and back to Earth. Once launched, the spacecraft will reach a distant retrograde orbit around the moon, traveling 1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometers) over the course of 42 days. Artemis I will land in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego on October 10. Orion’s return will be faster and warmer than any spacecraft has experienced on its way back to Earth.
The Orion spacecraft will travel further than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown, reaching 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers) beyond the far side of the moon, according to NASA.
There are no humans on board, but Orion will carry 120 pounds (54.4 kilograms) of memorabilia, including toys, Apollo 11 items and three mannequins.
Sitting in the Orion commander’s seat will be Commander Moonikin Campos, a suitable mannequin who can collect data on what future human crews might experience on a lunar voyage. The mannequin will wear the new Orion Crew Survival System suit designed for use by astronauts during launch and re-entry. The suit has two radiation sensors.
This mission will kick off NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to land humans on the Moon and bring the first woman and first person of color to the lunar surface by 2025, eventually ushering in human exploration of Mars. .
Artemis I will also carry a number of science experiments, some of which were installed once the rocket and spacecraft reached the launch pad.
This week, the Artemis team will open the hatch to Orion once again to install a Snoopy plushie, which will serve as the mission’s zero-gravity indicator. Once the spacecraft reaches the microgravity environment of space, Snoopy will float through the crew capsule.
Bob Cabana, the associate administrator for NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, reflected on watching the launch of Apollo 13 as a young midshipman at the US Naval Academy.
“I never dreamed that I would end up as an astronaut, let alone director of the Kennedy Space Center or in the position that I have now,” Cabana said. “I’m a product of the Apollo generation and look what it did for us. And I can’t wait to see what comes from the Artemis generation because I think it’s going to inspire even more than what Apollo did. It was gratifying to be able to see all that work during today’s review and knowing that we’re ready to do this.
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