AMERICAS ASIA EUROPE MIDDLE EAST AFRICA TURKEY

ARTS & CULTURE BUSINESS LIFE SPORTS

A PLACE CALLED PAKISTAN DIGITAL DOCUMENTARIES FOCAL POINT OFF THE GRID STORYTELLER

PERSPECTIVES RESEARCH CENTRE WORLD CITIZEN JOBS

NASA to launch Artemis mission, first step to return humans to the Moon

  • 23 Oct 2021

NASA plans to get humans back to the Moon again after testing its uncrewed lunar mission Artemis 1 next year.

United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with the Lucy spacecraft aboard at Space Launch Complex 41, October 15, 2021, at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. ( AP )

NASA is aiming to launch its uncrewed lunar mission Artemis 1 in February next year, the first step in America's plan to return humans to the Moon.

The space agency had initially hoped to launch the test flight by the end of this year, with astronauts set to walk on the Moon by 2024.

After further tests, it will be wheeled out to the launchpad for a "wet dress rehearsal" in January, with the first window for launch opening in February, officials told reporters on Friday through a call.

"The February launch period opens on the 12th and our last opportunity in February is on the 27th," said Mike Sarafin, Artemis 1 mission manager. The next windows are in March and April.

These potential launch periods are dependent on orbital mechanics and the relative position of the Earth with respect to the Moon. The mission duration is expected to be four to six weeks.

NASA will also deploy small satellites, known as CubeSats, to perform experiments and technology demonstrations.

READ MORE: NASA to launch Lucy probe to study Jupiter's Trojan asteroids

Humankind to moonwalk again

Artemis 2 is then scheduled for 2023 and Artemis 3 for the following year, when humans will walk on the Moon for the first time since 1972. Both missions are now likely to be pushed back, however.

NASA says the moonwalkers will include the first woman and first person of color to make the trip.

Artemis 1 has several objectives: to demonstrate Orion's ability to return from the Moon and operate in deep space where it is "much colder than in low Earth orbit," and to successfully recover the spacecraft, he added.

The mission also plans to study radiation and take selfies of the capsule with the Moon in the background.

The space agency continues its efforts to establish a sustainable presence on the Moon as well as use the lessons it learns to plan a crewed trip to Mars in the 2030s.

READ MORE: Star Trek's William Shatner returns to Earth after flight to space

Related

Popular