NASA to rollout Artemis 1 rocket on August 17
NASA has preponed the rollout of its Artemis 1 Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to the Kennedy Space Center in the US from August 18 to August 17. The launch will take place on August 29. The spacecraft will be uncrewed and shall take off from Launch Pad 39B. This will be the first in a series of missions to the Moon.
- Artemis 1 has been designed to test whether the SLS rocket and Orion space capsule are suitable for crewed journeys to the Moon.
- If the mission is successful, there will be a crewed Artemis 2 flight around the satellite in 2024, followed by a crewed Artemis 3 landing project in around 2025.
- Humanity will finally return to the Moon and eventually head to Mars.
The spacecraft will be placed atop a crawler-transporter and the journey will start at around 6.30 am on Wednesday. It will take around 12 hours to travel 6.4km. The transporter will roll inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and under the Orion spacecraft. Once the process is complete, the rocket will be closed and the final access platforms in the VAB will be retracted.
The Artemis mission will land the first person of color and the first woman on the Moon. It shall ensure a long-term presence there and will serve as a stepping stone to sending astronauts to other planets. Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed flight test of the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft. The latter will carry three mannequins instead of humans for various tests.
The Artemis 1 will carry 10 payloads. They include Lunar IceCube and Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper (LunaH-Map). Both will search for water on the Moon. There will also be an experimental ion propulsion thruster. According to NASA, it "operates electrically using small amounts of propellant to give a small push and drive the spacecraft along its path, similar to that of butterfly wings."