Her name was chosen in echo of the Apollo program, which took 12 white men to the moon between 1969 and 1972. Artemis, in Greek mythology, is the twin sister of Apollo (Apollo in English) and a goddess associated with the moon.
Here’s an overview of these missions, right down to the ultimate goal: allowing humans to travel to Mars.
1 Artemis 1: Test Flight
Artemis 1’s mission is to unpack NASA’s new giant rocket, dubbed the SLS, and the Orion capsule atop them, to ensure they can safely carry astronauts into the future. Orion must be put into orbit around the Moon.
2 Artemis 2: First Staff
Due in 2024, Artemis 2 will take astronauts to the moon, but without landing there, as Apollo 8 did. The capsule will fly over the moon without technically putting itself into orbit around it. Crew composition should be announced by the end of the year. We already know that the Canadian will be part of it and, accordingly, will become the first to go into deep space.
3 Artemis 3: Moon landing
This third mission can be compared to Apollo 11: it will be the first mission of the program to land on the moon. They will for the first time reach the south pole of the Moon, where water has been confirmed in the form of ice, and not near the equator as happened on Apollo.
Artemis 3 is officially scheduled for 2025, but according to an independent public scrutiny, it should actually be in 2026. ” As soon as possible “. From Artemis 3, NASA wants to launch about one mission each year.
4 SpaceX lander
NASA chose SpaceX to build the Artemis 3 lander.
Concretely, this lander will transfer between the Orion capsule, placed in lunar orbit, and the lunar surface. The capsule carrying four astronauts will dock with the lander, which will then be responsible for lowering two of them to the surface, and then raising them a few days later. Then on board Orion they will all return to Earth. The probe, sent separately by SpaceX, will be a copy of the Starship spacecraft, which has so far conducted only suborbital tests.
To reach Earth’s orbit, it must be powered by a Super Heavy first-stage rocket, which is also under development. Before he can travel to the Moon, he will have to refuel by refueling directly into space from another spacecraft that has previously been filled with fuel – a risky, previously untested transfer.
To continue the Artemis program, NASA has launched a new call for bids with other companies to develop additional landers.
5 Gateway Space Station
The Artemis program also includes building a station in lunar orbit called Gateway. The first two components – the housing unit and the propulsion system – are scheduled to be launched at the end of 2024 at the earliest, by SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket. The following modules will be launched by the SLS at the same time as the Orion and crew responsible for assembling them at their destination.
The astronauts will stay there between 30 and 60 days. Eventually, a lander will be docked there to allow it to descend to the moon from the station. The gateway will also serve as a stopover before future trips to Mars.
6 Target: Mars
Ironically, the star at the center of the Artemis program is not the Moon, but Mars.
With the establishment of a base on the Moon, NASA wants to test the technologies needed to send humans to the Red Planet: new suits, a vehicle for locomotion, a small power plant, the use of lunar water … The idea is to learn how to create a permanent human presence far from Earth, without moving away from it Much. In case of trouble, the Moon is only a few days away. March several months.
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