After a successful launch, Artemis shares a stunning shot of Earth

Artemis is supposed to bring humans back to the lunar surface

Caption: A spectacular view of Earth captured by Orion’s cameras. Source: NASATV

Still in the dark of night, the Florida sky was ablaze that Wednesday morning, November 16, as Artemis, the most powerful man-made rocket, lifted off, sending out just over 4,000 tons of thrust to break away from its Kennedy Space Center launch pad in Florida.

This historic event marks the beginning of a new era for NASA, which should allow it to put humans on the moon for the first time since the last Apollo mission in 1972.

When Artemis reached space, the Orion capsule, which was on top of the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket, detached to continue its journey to the moon alone.

Nine hours after launch, when it was just over 90,000 kilometers from Earth, the Orion spacecraft shared the first views of the blue planet, the first in 50 years.

The Orion Capsule is NASA’s spacecraft designed to carry a crew of 4 astronauts beyond low Earth orbit. For this Artemis 1 test mission, Orion takes mannequins stuffed with sensors to collect as much data and information as possible before the next missions.

This test flight is expected to last 25 days and take Orion on a journey of about 2 million kilometers around the moon. If all goes well, Orion is expected to return to Earth on December 11, landing with its 11 parachute braking system in the Pacific Ocean off San Diego, California.

>> Also read: Video: Artemis 1 has finally taken off!)

A long journey to the moon

Caption: Artemis started with no problems. Source: NASA TV/YouTube

Two hours after launch, the Orion spacecraft was in orbit, and six hours later it made a course correction, an important step to ensure it stays on course for the moon.

On November 21 Orion should be able to approach the lunar surface at an altitude of 96 km, then on November 25 it will enter a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon.

The Orion spacecraft is equipped with 16 cameras inside and out to capture images of its journey around the moon from different angles. On Wednesday, launch day, a first image from inside the capsule showed one of the models in his survival suit.

During its journey, which will take it further than any other spacecraft designed for manned flight, NASA engineers will closely monitor Orion’s performance. They will assess if everything is working properly to pick up a first mission with a human crew, currently planned for 2024.

Artemis 1 is the first in a long line of missions designed to help NASA achieve its goal of bringing men and women back to the moon. Artemis 2 was to follow an identical course as Artemis 1, but this time with a real crew on board. A moon landing is currently planned during the Artemis 3 mission, which is scheduled to take place later this decade.

>>Also read: Mission Artemis: Why is the launch risky?)

A journey full of pitfalls before this successful start

The Artemis rocket took years longer than expected to build and cost several billion dollars more than the original budget.

As for the launch, NASA had to try several times before launching this rocket of more than 2600 tons. The mission team encountered a number of technical problems and had to deal with unpredictable weather, including two hurricanes that swept through Florida.

Filling the SLS rocket’s massive tank with super-cooled liquid hydrogen proved more complicated than expected, as NASA twice had to abandon attempts to launch Artemis after leaks were discovered that interrupted the filling.

NASA has been working on the Artemis project since the end of the space shuttle program more than a decade ago. At the time, Congress asked the US space agency to work on building a giant rocket capable of carrying a crew of astronauts beyond Earth orbit, using as much technology from the old shuttles.

With this successful launch, NASA seems to have embarked on new missions on the moon again, reminiscent of this phrase from Eugène Cerdan (1934-2017), the last astronaut to set foot on the lunar surface in recent times, Apollo-17 -Mission: “We go as we came and, God willing, we will return with peace and hope for all mankind.”

>> Also Read: Artemis Mission: The Huge NASA Rocket Back on Its Launch Pad for a New Launch Attempt)

Source :

Michael Sheetz, “NASA Artemis 1 Mission Flies to the Moon After Successful Launch”, CNBCpublished on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, https://www.cnbc.com/2022/11/16/watch-live-nasa-launches-artemis-1-moon-mission.html

Jonathan Amos, “Nasa’s Artemis Moon Rocket Lifts Off Earth”, BBCNovember 16, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-63643707

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