HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — There are three parts to the mission, Artemis I, II and III. Artemis I will be un-crewed and test rocket performance. Artemis II will send a crew to the lunar environment where they will study docking and undocking. The third mission will be the one where the astronauts walk on the Moon.
The crew will be onboard the Orion spacecraft with the Space Launch System rocket, designed and developed right here in Huntsville at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. The rocket will have two solid rocket boosters and four engines. The SLS rocket is 322 feet tall. Jody Singer, Marshall Center Director, said they went through a series of tropical cyclones and even a few tornadoes, with one severe event affecting one of their buildings during the design and development of the rocket over the past decade.
Scientists at MSFC tell me the astronauts are going to have instruments to collect rock samples on the Moon and there’s even an instrument called the Near-Earth Asteroid Scout that will be deployed to an asteroid. They’ll also study the human body and how it behaves in space and on the Moon. They’ve already been using the International Space Station for help in studying the human experience in space.
The Artemis project is different from the first Moon mission because they will be staying longer and studying a different part of the Moon, the South Pole.
There will be a “wet dress” on March 17, where they will roll the rocket out from the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center to the launch pad. They will go through a series of tests without actually launching the rocket. This will allow them to catch any technical issues and do data analysis.
Weather is very important in launching a rocket, especially the upper-level winds. There will be a wind profiler at Kennedy which has 640 antennae which will gather data from 6,000 to 62,000 feet every five minutes. Radar beams will be sent into the rocket’s path which will give them better observations before deployment. They’ll also deploy weather balloons to measure variables such as temperature, relative humidity and air pressure.
No specific date has been set for the Artemis I launch.