Artemis 1

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Artemis 1
KSC-20220318-PH-KLS01 0037.jpg
Artemis I on launchpad 39B prior to wet dress rehearsal
NamesArtemis I
Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1)
Mission typeUncrewed Lunar orbital test flight
OperatorNASA
Websitewww.nasa.gov/artemis-1
Mission duration26-42 days (planned)[1]
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftOrion CM-002
Spacecraft typeOrion MPCV
ManufacturerBoeing
Lockheed Martin
Airbus Defence and Space
Powerwatts
Start of mission
Launch dateAugust 2022 (planned)
RocketSpace Launch System, Block 1
Launch siteKennedy Space Center, LC-39B
ContractorNASA
End of mission
Recovered byUS Navy
Landing dateTBD
Landing sitePacific Ocean
Orbital parameters
Reference systemSelenocentric
Period14 days
Moon orbiter
Exploration Mission-1 patch.png
Artemis 1 mission patch  

Artemis 1 (officially Artemis I)[2] is a planned uncrewed test flight for NASA's Artemis program. It is the first flight of the agency's Space Launch System (SLS) super heavy-lift launch vehicle and the first flight of the Orion MPCV.[a][3] As of May 2022, Artemis 1 is expected to launch no earlier than August 2022.[4]

Formerly known as Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), the mission was renamed after the introduction of the Artemis program. The launch will be held at Launch Complex 39B (LC-39B) at the Kennedy Space Center, where an Orion spacecraft will be sent on a mission of between 26 and 42 days,[5] with at least 6 of those days in a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon.[5] The mission will certify the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System launch vehicle for crewed flights beginning with the second flight test of the Orion and Space Launch System, Artemis 2.[1]

The Orion spacecraft for Artemis 1 was stacked on 20 October 2021, marking the first time a super heavy-lift vehicle has been stacked inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) since the final Saturn V with Skylab.[6]

Overview[edit]

Artemis 1 will use the Block 1 variant of the Space Launch System. The Block 1 first stage consists of a core stage and two five-segment solid rocket boosters (SRBs). The core stage will reuse four RS-25D engines that had flown on the Space Shuttle. The core and boosters together produce 39,000 kN (8,800,000 lbf) of thrust at liftoff.[7] The upper stage Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) will be based on the Delta Cryogenic Second Stage (itself based on the design of the upper stage of JAXA's H-IIA and former H-IIB launch vehicles), containing one RL10 engine.

Once in orbit, the ICPS will perform a trans-lunar injection (TLI) burn, which will transfer the Orion spacecraft and 10 CubeSats on the way to the Moon. The Orion will separate from the ICPS and coast to lunar space. The Stage Adapter on ICPS will deploy 10 CubeSats that will do scientific research and perform technology demonstrations.[8]

Originally, the mission was planned to follow a circumlunar trajectory without entering orbit around the Moon.[9][10] Current plans are expected to have the Orion spacecraft spend approximately three weeks in space, including six days in a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon.[11]

Mission timeline[edit]

Note: This timeline is approximate and merely serves as a reference.

Mission elapsed time Event Altitude
0 hours 00 minutes 00 seconds Launch 0 km / 0 miles

Location: Kennedy Space Center

0 hours 02 minutes 00 seconds Solid rocket booster separation 45 km / 28 miles
0 hours 03 minutes 40 seconds Service module panels and launch abort system jettisoned 91 km / 57 miles
0 hours 08 minutes 14 seconds Main engine cutoff and core stage separation 157 km / 98 miles
0 hours 16 minutes 14 seconds Solar panels deployed 484 km / 301 miles
0 hours 54 minutes 05 seconds Perigee raise maneuver 1,791 km / 1,113 miles
1 hour 25 minutes 00 seconds Trans-lunar injection (TLI) 601 km / 373 miles
1 hour 53 minutes 00 seconds Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) separation 3,849 km / 2,392 miles
Days 1-4 Outbound coasting phase 3,849 - 394,501 km / 2,391 - 245,131 miles
4 days 7 hours 18 minutes Lunar gravity assist Distance from Earth: 401,643 km / 249,569 miles

Distance from Moon: 100 km / 62 miles

Days 7-13 Distant retrograde orbit 348,931 - 437,321 km / 216,815 - 271,739 miles
20 days Return powered flyby 358,558 km / 222,798 miles
Days 21-25 Inbound coasting phase 364,804 - 67,257 km / 226,678 - 41,959 miles
25 days 11 hours 30 minutes Crew and service module separation 5,140 km / 3,194 miles
25 days 11 hours 34 minutes Re-entry 100 km / 62 miles
≈25 days 12 hours Parachute deployment sequence 7,315 m / 24,000 ft
≈25 days 12 hours Splashdown 0 km / 0 miles

Location: Pacific Ocean

History[edit]

View of the Artemis 1 mission as it was planned in October 2021.

The flight now named Artemis 1, was originally named by NASA Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) in 2012, when it was set to launch in 2017 as the first planned flight of the Space Launch System and the second uncrewed test flight of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle where Orion was to perform a circumlunar trajectory during a seven-day mission.[9][10] Before then, this initial flight had been referred to as Space Launch System 1 or SLS-1.

On 16 January 2013, NASA announced that the European Space Agency (ESA) will build the European Service Module based on its Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), so the flight could also be regarded as a test of ESA hardware as well as American, and of how the ESA components interact with the American Orion components.[12]

The Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) flight article (launched in 2014) was consciously constructed in a way that if all the missing components (seats, life support systems) were added, it would not meet the mass target.[citation needed]

In January 2015, NASA and Lockheed Martin announced that the primary structure in the Orion spacecraft would be up to 25% lighter compared to the previous one (EFT-1). This would be achieved by reducing the number of cone panels from six (EFT-1) to three (EM-1), reducing the total number of welds from 19 to 7,[13] saving the additional mass of the weld material. Other savings would be due to revising its various components and wiring. For Artemis 1, the Orion spacecraft will be outfitted with a complete life support system and crew seats, but will be left uncrewed.[14] On the seats, two mannequins will be strapped and used as radiation imaging phantoms.[15]

By July 2014, the planned initial launch date had slipped to November 2018, and in April 2017, NASA further delayed the planned date to "sometime in 2019".[16][17]

On 30 November 2020, it was reported that NASA and Lockheed Martin had found a failure with a component in one of the Orion spacecraft's power data units. Engineers working on Orion stated it could take months to replace the component, casting doubt on whether NASA can launch the Artemis 1 mission in 2021. However, NASA later clarified that it does not expect the issue to affect the Artemis 1 launch date.[18][19]

On 18 April 2022, during the rocket's wet dress rehearsal NASA discovered problems with both the mobile launcher and a leak from the upper stage. With external nitrogen tank upgrades needing to take place soon, NASA decided to roll the Artemis 1 rocket back into the Vehicle Assembly Building to make minor repairs to the upper stage and the launcher.[20] The rocket was rolled back on 26 April.[4]

As of late April 2022, Artemis 1 is expected to launch no earlier than August 2022.[4]

NASA limits the amount of time the solid rocket boosters can remain stacked to "about a year" from the time two segments are joined.[21] The first and second segments of the Artemis 1 boosters were joined on 7 January 2021.[22] NASA can choose to extend the time limit based on an engineering review.[23] On 29 September 2021, Northrup Grumman indicated that the limit can be extended to eighteen months for Artemis 1, based on an analysis of the data collected when the boosters were being stacked.[24]

Then-planned launch date history
Year Planned launch date
October 2010 December 2016[25]
July 2011 December 2017
July 2014 November 2018
April 2016 September 2018
April 2017 2019[16]
March 2018 December 2019
May 2018 June 2020
September 2019 November 2020
February 2020 April 2021
May 2020 November 2021 – March 2022[26]
April 2021 November 2021
June 2021 November 2021
August 2021 November 2021
September 2021 December 2021 – January 2022[7][27]
October 2021 February 2022[28]
December 2021 March 2022[29]
January 2022 March 2022
February 2022 May 2022[30]
February 2022 April 2022
March 2022 June 2022[31]
April 2022 August 2022[4]

Crewed Exploration Mission-1 study[edit]

Welding sequence of Orion spacecraft for Artemis 1

This flight will be uncrewed. However, NASA did a study in 2017, at the request of President Donald Trump, to investigate a crewed version of the initial SLS flight.[32] A crewed version of Exploration Mission-1 would have had a crew of two astronauts, and the flight time would be much shorter than the uncrewed version for safety reasons. The study investigated a crewed mission even with the possibility of further delays to the launch.[33] On 12 May 2017, NASA revealed that it will not be sending astronauts to space for Orion's EM-1 mission following a months-long feasibility study.[17]

Alternative launcher study[edit]

On 13 March 2019, Administrator of NASA Jim Bridenstine testified in front of a Senate hearing that NASA was considering moving the Orion spacecraft that was to fly on the first Space Launch System mission to commercial rockets to keep that mission on schedule for mid-2020. Bridenstine stated that the "SLS is struggling to meet its schedule", and that "We're now understanding better how difficult this project is and that it is going to take some additional time". Bridenstine testified that NASA was considering launching the Orion spacecraft being built for Exploration Mission-1 on commercial vehicles such as Falcon Heavy or Delta IV Heavy.[34][35] The mission would require two launches: one to place the Orion spacecraft into orbit around the Earth, and a second carrying an upper stage. The two would then dock while in Earth orbit and the upper stage would ignite to send Orion to the Moon. One challenge with this option would be carrying out that docking, as NASA does not have an ability to dock the Orion crew capsule with anything in orbit until Artemis 3.[36]

Since mid-2019, the idea was put on hold, due to another study's conclusion that it would delay the mission further.[37] The plan was eventually scrapped[when?] when it was determined that it would be difficult to have Orion rendezvous with its interim cryogenic propulsion stage in low Earth orbit.[citation needed]

Launch campaign[edit]

Engineers with Exploration Ground Systems and Jacobs prepare to lift and place the core stage of the Space Launch System launch vehicle for the Artemis I mission on the mobile launcher and in-between the already assembled twin rocket boosters.
The SLS and Orion capsule for Artemis 1 are seen fully stacked in High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building.

Launch preparations for Artemis 1 at KSC officially began on 12 June 2020, with the arrival of the solid rocket booster segments from Utah by rail.[38] Later in the summer the launch vehicle stage adapter arrived at the launch site on the Pegasus barge and was brought into the VAB for storage prior to stacking.[39] (The ICPS 2nd stage had been at KSC since July 2017.[40])

NASA and ground systems contractor Jacobs began the build up of the Artemis 1 stack in High bay 3 of the VAB, with the stacking of the two aft solid rocket booster segments on 23 November 2020.[41] Following a pause in stacking due to core stage testing delays at Stennis Space Center, stacking operations resumed on 7 January 2021.[42] On 3 March 2021, the two solid rocket boosters completed stacking on the SLS mobile launcher.

The Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft began fueling and pre-launch servicing in the Multi-Payload Processing Facility on 16 January 2021 following a handover to exploration ground systems.[43][44]

The SLS core stage for the mission (CS-1) arrived at the launch site on the Pegasus barge on 27 April 2021, following a successful green run hotfire test. It was moved to the VAB low bay for refurbishment and stacking preparations on 29 April 2021.[45] The stage was then stacked with its boosters on 12 June 2021. The stage adapter (LVSA) was stacked on the Core Stage on 22 June 2021. The ICPS upper stage was stacked on 6 July 2021. Following the completion of umbilical retract testing and integrated modal testing, the Orion stage adapter with 10 secondary payloads was stacked on top of the upper stage on 8 October 2021.[46]

On 17 March 2022, SLS rolled out of High Bay 3 from the Vehicle Assembly Building for the first time in order to perform a prelaunch wet dress rehearsal.

SLS Artemis I stacking sequence[47][48][49]
Number Event
1 Solid Rocket Booster Stacking
2 Core Stage Stacking
3 Core Stage Adapter (LVSA) stacking
4 ICPS Upper stage stacking
5 OSA STA/Orion mass sim (MSO) stacking
6 Test hardware destacking
7 Orion stage adapter (OSA) stacking
8 Orion spacecraft stacking (capsule and ESM)

Timeline once stacked:[50]

  • rollout to launch pad - 17 March 2022[51]
  • checkout and wet-dress rehearsal - currently planned[when?]
  • rollback to VAB (for removal of test equipment, etc) - Currently planned for 10 days after conclusion of WDR
  • rollout to launch pad
  • checkout and countdown

Orion payloads[edit]

AstroRad vest on International Space Station (ISS)

NASA has partnered with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) in conjunction with StemRad and Lockheed Martin to perform the Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE), which will measure tissue radiation dose deposition aboard Artemis 1 and test the effectiveness of the AstroRad radiation vest in the radiation environment beyond low Earth orbit. While radiation shielding strategies of the past have relied on storm shelters in which astronauts can seek refuge when solar storms erupt, the AstroRad's ergonomic design provides a mobile protection system with a similar shielding factor as storm shelters without hindering the astronauts' ability to perform their tasks.[52]

The crew compartment of the uncrewed Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft will include two female mannequin imaging phantoms which will be exposed to the radiation environment along the lunar orbit, including solar storms and galactic cosmic rays. One phantom will be shielded with the AstroRad vest and the other will be left unprotected. The phantoms provide the opportunity to precisely measure radiation exposure not only at the surface of the body but also at the exact location of sensitive organs and tissues inside the human body. Radiation exposure will be measured with the implementation of both passive and active dosimeters intentionally distributed throughout the inside of the anthropomorphic phantoms at precise locations of sensitive tissues and high stem cell concentrations.[53][54] The results of MARE should enable Orion as a platform for other scientific experiments, provide accurate radiation risk projections of deep space exploration, and validate the protective properties of the AstroRad vest.[55] Also aboard the capsule will be a digital copy of the 14,000 entries for the Moon Pod Essay Contest hosted by Future Engineers for NASA.[56]

Secondary payloads[edit]

MPCV Stage Adapter with 9 CubeSats installed.

Thirteen low-cost CubeSat missions were competitively selected as secondary payloads on Exploration Mission-1, later Artemis 1.[57] All of them have the six-unit configuration,[58] and will reside within the Stage Adapter on top of the second stage on the launch vehicle from which they will be deployed. Ten CubeSats were ultimately installed on the Stage Adapter by October 2021, with the remaining CubeSats (Lunar Flashlight, CU-E3, and Cislunar Explorers) encountering delays that pushed them off the manifest.[8][59]

Two CubeSats were selected through NASA's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships, three through the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, two through the Science Mission Directorate, and three from submissions by NASA's international partners. The CubeSat spacecraft selected are:[60][61]

  • ArgoMoon, designed by Argotec and coordinated by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), is designed to image the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) of Orion for mission data and historical records. It will demonstrate technologies necessary for a small spacecraft to maneuver and operate near the ICPS.[62]
  • BioSentinel is an astrobiology mission that will use yeast to detect, measure, and compare the impact of deep space radiation on living organisms over long durations beyond low Earth orbit.[61]
  • CubeSat for Solar Particles (CuSP), designed at the Southwest Research Institute will study the dynamic particles and magnetic fields that stream from the Sun[63] and as a proof of concept for the feasibility of a network of stations to track space weather.
  • EQUULEUS, designed by Japan's JAXA and the University of Tokyo, will image Earth's plasmasphere to study the radiation environment around the Earth while demonstrating low thrust maneuvers for trajectory control in the space between Earth and the Moon.[62]
  • Lunar IceCube, a lunar orbiter designed at the Morehead State University, will search for additional evidence of lunar water ice from a low lunar orbit.
  • Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper (LunaH-Map), a lunar orbiter designed at the Arizona State University,[64] will map hydrogen within craters near the lunar south pole, tracking depth and distribution of hydrogen-rich compounds like water. It will use a neutron detector to measure the energies of neutrons that interacted with the material on the lunar surface. Its mission is planned to last 60 days and perform 141 orbits of the Moon.[65]
  • Near-Earth Asteroid Scout is proof-of-concept of a controllable CubeSat solar sail spacecraft capable of encountering near-Earth asteroids (NEA).[66] Observations will be achieved through a close (≈10 km (6.2 mi)) flyby and using a high resolution science-grade monochromatic camera to measure the physical properties of a near-Earth asteroid.[66] A variety of potential targets would be identified based upon launch date, time of flight, and rendezvous velocity.
  • OMOTENASHI, designed by JAXA, is a lander probe to study the lunar radiation environment.[62][67]
  • LunIR is a spacecraft designed by Lockheed Martin to fly by the Moon and collect surface spectroscopy and thermography.
  • Lunar Flashlight is a lunar orbiter that will seek exposed water ice, and map its concentration at the 1–2 km (0.62–1.24 mi) scale within the permanently shadowed regions of the lunar south pole.[68][69] It was one of three CubeSat missions to miss the integration window to fly on Artemis I, and will need to find an alternative ride to the Moon.[59]

The remaining three slots were selected through a competition pitting CubeSat teams from the United States against each other in a series of ground tournaments called "NASA's Cube Quest Challenge",[70][71] and were announced by Ames Research Center on 8 June 2017. The competition was to contribute to opening deep-space exploration to non-government spacecraft. These slots were awarded to:[72]

  • Team Miles will demonstrate long-distance communications while in heliocentric orbit and show low-thrust trajectory control techniques by employing a hybrid ion thruster. It was designed by Fluid and Reason, LLC, Tampa, Florida.
  • Cislunar Explorers will demonstrate the viability of water electrolysis propulsion and interplanetary optical navigation to orbit the Moon. It was designed by Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. It was one of three CubeSat missions to miss the integration window to fly on Artemis I, and will need to find an alternative ride to the Moon.[59]
  • Earth Escape Explorer (CU-E3) will demonstrate long-distance communications while in heliocentric orbit. It was designed by the University of Colorado Boulder. It was one of three CubeSat missions to miss the integration window to fly on Artemis I, and will need to find an alternative ride to the Moon.[59]
    Sample souvenir boarding pass for those who registered their names to be flown aboard the Artemis 1 mission

Public outreach[edit]

To raise public awareness of the Artemis 1 mission, NASA undertook a "Send Your Name With Artemis" campaign, through which people could send their names on data hardware aboard Orion. After registering their names, participants received a digital ticket with details of the mission's launch and destination.[73]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ An Orion capsule was flown in 2014, but not the entire Orion spacecraft.

References[edit]

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