Breakdown: Why NASA is going back to the moon
It’s been 50 years since humans last walked on the Moon.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - NASA successfully launched the Artemis I Moon mission on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
The historic Launch Complex 39B with the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket lifted off for the first time from NASA’s modernized Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Engineers previously rolled the rocket back to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) Sept. 26 ahead of Hurricane Ian and after waving off two previous launch attempts Aug. 29 due to a faulty temperature sensor, and Sept. 4 due to a liquid hydrogen leak at an interface between the rocket and mobile launcher.
The mission will pave the way for a crewed test flight and future human lunar exploration as part of Artemis.
MISSION OVERVIEW: Artemis I is the first integrated test of NASA’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I is an uncrewed flight test that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration and demonstrate our commitment and capability to return humans to the Moon and extend beyond.
With Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before.
“We’re going back to the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers: the Artemis Generation. While maintaining American leadership in exploration, we will build a global alliance and explore deep space for the benefit of all.”
During this flight, Orion will launch atop the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown. Over the course of the mission, it will travel 280,000 miles (450,000 kilometers) from Earth and 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers) beyond the far side of the Moon. Orion will stay in space longer than any human spacecraft has without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before.
This first Artemis mission will demonstrate the performance of both Orion and the SLS rocket and test our capabilities to orbit the Moon and return to Earth. The flight will pave the way for future missions to the lunar vicinity, including landing the first woman and first person of color on the surface of the Moon.
With Artemis I, NASA sets the stage for human exploration into deep space, where astronauts will build and begin testing the systems near the Moon needed for lunar surface missions and exploration to other destinations farther from Earth, including Mars.
With Artemis, NASA will collaborate with commercial and international partners and establish the first long-term presence on the Moon.
Then, they will use what they learn on and around the Moon to take the next giant leap: sending the first astronauts to Mars.
- Launch date: Nov. 16, 2022
- Mission duration: 25 days, 11 hours, 36 minutes
- Total distance traveled: 1.3 miIlion miles
- Re-entry speed: 24,500 mph (Mach 32)
- Splashdown: Dec. 11, 2022
The launch countdown will begin at 1:24 A.M. EST on Monday, Nov. 14.
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