After several failed attempts to put the Orion spacecraft on its way to the Moon, the mission Artemis I finally left the Earth on November 16th. Artemis I is an uncrewed space-mission that will test the spacecraft’s systems around the Moon.
Artemis I was originally planned to leave the Earth on August 29th, 2022, but due to a faulty engine temperature reading, the launch was cancelled. On the second attempt, on September 3rd, 2022, the launch was once again cancelled due to a hydrogen leak during fueling. Finally, on the third attempt, the launch was successful, and we were able to see 39,000kN of thrust pushing Orion away from the Kennedy Space Center (the third is the charm, right?).
On its way to the Moon, the main objective of this mission is to test the capabilities of the systems of the spacecraft. Among these systems there is the main propulsion and power system (which will provide water/air for the astronauts in future missions), different communication systems (Deep Space Network, NASA’s tracking and relay satellites systems), navigation, and others. During this phase, engineers will obtain as much data as possible to assess the performance of the system and include improvements for future missions.
On its way back to Earth, Orion will perform a gravity-assist maneuver around the Moon that will send the spacecraft on its way back home. During this phase, thermal systems play an essential role since the surface of the spacecraft may reach up to 2,700 degrees Celsius.
Are you ready to see the re-entry of the spacecraft testing its precision landing capabilities in December?