Update (2022 Dec 11) – Orion safely splashed down today about 10:40a Boise time! https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/12/11/orion-splashdown-artemis-mission/
I had a great time talking with “Idaho Matters” and Gemma Gaudette at KBSX this morning about the Artemis mission. Check out the questions and answers from the show below, and listen to the interview here.
- When did the first Artemis mission launch? 2022 Nov 16
- Why does this first mission not have any crew onboard? Artemis 1 is the first flight test of the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. Its main objective is to test the Orion spacecraft in preparation for subsequent Artemis missions.
- What is the purpose of this and future missions? The Artemis program intends to reestablish a human presence on the Moon. The major components are the Space Launch System (SLS), Orion spacecraft, Lunar Gateway space station and the commercial Human Landing Systems, including Starship HLS, with the long-term goal to establish a permanent base camp on the Moon and facilitate human missions to Mars.
- During this trip, the Orion will have traveled the farthest from Earth of any other spacecraft built for humans. What is the significance of this? Artemis I will have traveled both the longest distance of any mission intended for crewed space flight AND the farthest away from the Earth.
On November 26, at 13:42 UTC, Orion broke the record for the farthest distance from Earth traveled by an Earth-returning human-rated spacecraft. The record was formerly held by the Apollo 13 mission at 248,655 mi (400,171 km).
On November 28, 2022, Orion reached its maximum distance from Earth during the Artemis 1 mission when it was 268,563 mi (432,210 km) away from Earth, so far that radio communications from the spacecraft will take about 1.5 seconds to return to Earth.
- The Orion is scheduled to return December 11th. Where will it touch down? Orion will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and splashdown off the San Diego coast on Dec. 11. A news conference also will be held after splashdown, about 3:30 p.m. Dec. 11.
- How will Orion be recovered? After the successful completion of the ninth recovery test at sea, NASA’s Landing and Recovery team will recover the spacecraft.
- What’s next in the mission? Artemis 2 (officially Artemis II) is the second scheduled mission of NASA’s Artemis program and the first scheduled crewed mission of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, currently planned to be launched by the Space Launch System (SLS) in May 2024. Assuming Artemis 2 completes everything successfully, the first landing mission (Artemis 3) is scheduled for 2025.
- Who will crew Artemis I? While personnel have not yet been announced for the mission, the four-person crew of Artemis II will include a Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut. Later missions will have international crews including European and Asian astronauts.
- When and how will NASA set up a base on the Moon? The first Artemis landings on the Moon will take place during the Artemis III mission, scheduled for launch in 2025. Artemis 3 is planned to place the first woman and person of color on the moon. The Artemis III plan is to land a crew at the Moon’s south polar region.
In the future, NASA envisions a fixed habitat at the Artemis Base Camp near the lunar south pole that can house up to four astronauts for a month-long stay. NASA has worked to design habitation systems and designs, assess internal layouts, develop environmental control and life support systems, and experiment with outer structure options including rigid shells, expandable designs, and hybrid concepts.
- What is Artemis I doing while in transit between the Earth and Moon? As the spacecraft makes an orbit of Earth, it will deploy its solar arrays and the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) will give Orion the big push needed to leave Earth’s orbit and travel toward the Moon. From there, Orion will separate from the ICPS within about two hours after launch.
The ICPS deployed a number of small satellites, known as CubeSats, to perform several experiments and technology demonstrations including orbiting the Sun in interplanetary space and study its particles and magnetic fields; imaging the Earth’s plasmasphere; and using a solar sail to flyby a near-Earth asteroid.
Want to bring NASA to your classroom? Contact our NASA-funded outreach program, the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve STEM Network, to schedule a visit!