NASA is working on an exciting project – the Artemis 2 mission, set to launch in late 2024. This mission will take four astronauts around the moon, marking the first lunar liftoff with humans onboard in 52 years.
Building the Giant Rocket
- NASA is constructing a giant rocket known as the Space Launch System (SLS) at various centers across the southern United States.
- The Artemis 2 mission involves the Orion capsule and the SLS rocket.
Processing Solid Rocket Boosters at Kennedy Space Center (KSC)
- At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, parts of the two solid rocket boosters attached to the SLS core stage are being processed. These boosters are a crucial component for the launch.
Assembling the SLS Rocket
- Engineers at KSC processed the right forward center segment of the SLS in late November.
- Each segment is meticulously inspected, lifted into a vertical position, and prepared for integration and launch.
- Once approved, the segments will be moved to the Vehicle Assembly Building for the final assembly of the massive rocket.
Supporting the Artemis 2 Orion Spacecraft
- At NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, a key piece supporting the Artemis 2 Orion spacecraft is being prepared.
- This involves rotating the stage adapter, which connects Orion to the SLS upper stage.
- The adapter also carries the autographs of the four crew members, adding a personal touch to the mission.
- The Orion spacecraft completed its first power-on test at KSC, while the SLS core stage now has all four engines installed.
- The mobile launcher is undergoing rigorous testing, including water deluge tests, crucial for protecting the structure during launch.
Artemis 2 Crew Training
- While the hardware is taking shape, the Artemis 2 crew is deep into their 18 months of training.
- They are formulating procedures for the mission and paving the way for future Artemis program missions.
Looking Ahead to Artemis 3
- Artemis 3, the next mission, is officially scheduled for 2025 or 2026 but may extend to 2027, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.
- NASA is awaiting key landing elements, including SpaceX’s Starship vehicle and lunar surface spacesuits.
The Artemis program marks a significant leap forward in space exploration, with each milestone bringing us closer to the next human lunar mission.