HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – When Artemis I launches on Monday it will be carrying with it 10 small satellites, called CubeSats. These secondary payloads each have a different mission to help further our understanding of the moon and the world we live in.
Three of the CubeSats come from international partners from around the world.
Created by the Italian company, Argotec, ArgoMoon is designed to take high-definition pictures of the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS), Earth and the moon. It will also provide data on the deployment of the nine other CubeSats as they leave the Orion Stage Adapter.
Onboard there are also artificial intelligence-based algorithms for a variety of activities, including keeping track of the satellite’s health. ArgoMoon’s technology could help space agencies in the future monitor far away satellites not designed to be serviced.
ArgoMoon is sponsored by ArgoMoon is sponsored by Italy’s national space agency Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI). It will be one of the first CubeSats deployed during the mission.
EQUilibriUm Lunar-Earth point 6U Spacecraft (EQUULEUS) was created by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the University of Tokyo.
EQUULEUS will deploy about 3 hours and 40 minutes after launch and travel to Earth-Moon Lagrange Point 2, the area where the James Webb Space Telescope is also stationed.
The CubeSat will help scientists understand Earth’s plasmasphere and the radiation environment around the planet. It will also help scientists protect future astronauts and spacecraft electronics from radiation during long-distance space flights.
EQUULEUS is not done there though, during its 270-day mission it will also study the dust environment on the moon and meteor impacts along its surface.
Outstanding MOon exploration Technologies demonstrated by NAno Semi-Hard Impactor, or OMOTENAHSI, was also developed by JAXA.
OMOTENAHSI will be the only CubeSat whose mission involves landing on the moon during Artemis I. The goal is for the spacecraft to make a controlled landing on the lunar surface to see if it is something a spacecraft the size of a boot box can do so safely.
It will deploy about 3 hours and 40 minutes into launch and in total OMOTENASHI’s mission will last just five days.
NASA says successful, OMOTENASHI will be the smallest spacecraft ever to land on the lunar surface and will mark Japan as the fourth nation to successfully land on the Moon.
News 19 spoke with team members for the other seven CubeSats launching on Artemis I. Those feature pieces can be read at the links below:
Artemis I is scheduled to launch Monday morning. NASA will have two hours to make a launch decision between 7:33 a.m. and 10:33 a.m.