The Artemis 2 project from NASA will send people to the moon's orbit

The second scheduled flight of the Artemis program is called Artemis 2. After the unmanned Artemis 1 launches and splashes down, Artemis 2 is designed to send people back to the moon's orbit for the first time since 1972. The crew of Artemis 2 will be launched on an eight-day trip using the massive Space Launch System (SLS) mega-rocket and Orion spacecraft. To determine how prepared the Artemis program is to deliver humans to the moon's surface, the astronauts and mission controllers will gather data about Orion and the crew's performance. Artemis 2's crew has not yet been announced. If all data from Artemis 1 show that Artemis 2 is prepared for flight, the launch date is tentatively planned for 2024. If all goes according to plan with Artemis 2, the first landing mission (Artemis 3) might happen as early as 2025.

Artemis 2 launch date

The anticipated launch date for Artemis 2 is 2024, however, it is subject to a few things readiness. In 2022, the Artemis 1 mission is planned to conduct an extended, unmanned lunar orbital mission. For the purpose of determining whether the Orion and SLS spacecraft are ready to transport people, the mission will gather radiation and engineering data. If Artemis 1 successfully completes its mission from launch to splashdown, Artemis 2 will be planned afterward. New spacesuits made to withstand the more radiation-rich lunar orbital environment than low Earth orbit, where people are more protected, will be needed for the crewed voyage. Key components of the Artemis 2 hardware are now being assembled by NASA as of August 2022 in preparation for testing and assembly later in the process.

Who will fly on Artemis 2?

Although the four astronauts who will make up the Artemis 2 crew have not yet been given names, we do know this. All of NASA's astronauts will be qualified to participate in Artemis program flights, the agency said in 2022. In addition, this mission will have an astronaut seat for the Canadian Space Agency. The CSA has four astronauts available, and one of the Artemis 2 crew members is still unnamed. After promising to contribute robots to NASA's manned lunar program, Canada was granted an astronaut seat. In order to assist research and lunar landing missions, NASA intends to build a space station named Gateway that will be in orbit around the moon. The Canadarm3 will perform maintenance and repairs on the Gateway and will be equipped with artificial intelligence to enable some autonomous operations. NASA planned personnel gaps, so the AI will be especially important when the station is unmanned. This strategy differs from the ongoing human presence on the International Space Station but is required for logistical and financial reasons.

What will Artemis 2 do?

With people on board, Artemis 2 will be the first significant test of the SLS and Orion spacecraft systems. According to the Canadian Space Agency(opens in new tab), the mission will target four key readiness metrics: mission planning, system performance, crew interfaces, and guidance and navigation systems. Orion will follow the mission course, orbiting Earth twice in a so-called "hybrid free return" orbit to gain speed for the trans-lunar injection. According to CSA, Orion will also exploit the moon's gravity as a "slingshot" to gain speed on its way back to Earth. According to the organization, the operation is anticipated to take between eight and ten days but might continue up to three weeks depending on its goals. If the new mission achieves its anticipated maximum altitude of 5,523 miles (8,889 km) above the moon's surface, the four men on Artemis 2 will have traveled the farthest from Earth since 1970's Apollo 13.

According to the European Space Agency, the mission must reach the following benchmarks:

  • Launch to low-Earth orbit from Launch Pad 39B at the NASA Kennedy Space Center.
  • raising the perigee, or the lowest point of the orbit, in Earth orbit, around 40 minutes after launch. With the SLS Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, this will be accomplished (ICPS).
  • Employing the ICPS once again, a burn to raise the apogee or highest point of the orbit.
  • At 42 hours into the mission, the system is checked to make sure the orbit, which is 1,616 miles (2,600 km) in altitude at its greatest point and (112 miles) 185 kilometers at its closest point to Earth, is accurate.
  • Orion will perform a translunar injection to get to the moon when the ICPS is destroyed. The maximum height for the four-day journey to the moon is 5,523 miles (8,889 km) above the lunar surface.
  • The spaceship will head back to Earth. The crew module will separate from the European Service Module and the crew module adapter once the spacecraft is near to Earth, enabling a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

What comes after Artemis 2?

Data analysis for Artemis 2 will take at least many months for investigators. If all goes according to plan, Artemis 3, the next mission, will touch down on the moon's surface in 2025. The Office of the Inspector General of NASA has voiced doubt over that schedule. Due to technological and legal issues, the human landing mechanism, which will employ SpaceX's Starship, has been delayed. Additionally, NASA's effort to produce spacesuits had development delays; to fill the void, the organization turned to private vendors. In 2025, if Artemis 3 succeeds in reaching the surface, it will be the first manned landing mission since NASA's Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

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