Artemis 1: Why Nasa thinks Monday’s moon launch will change space exploration forever

The most powerful rocket in NASA’s history — the Space Launch System (SLS) — will lift off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral on Monday afternoon.

This marks a new era in space exploration for Nasa. The first launch of the new SLS rocket, dubbed Artemis 1, marks the beginning of the US space agency’s goal of getting astronauts back to the moon within three years.

What is special about the new rocket?

First off, it’s the most powerful rocket ever built. It will generate 3.9 million kilos of thrust, enough to keep about 22 jumbo jets aloft.

The rocket will reach nearly 4,000 miles per hour in just two minutes. Within eight minutes it will be traveling at almost 29,000 km/h. Fast enough to orbit the entire planet in about 80 minutes. The top speed will be around 36,000 km/h. To put this in perspective, it’s the equivalent of traveling from Dublin to New York in about eight minutes.

The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will generate the most force ever produced by a rocket when it launches Monday. When testing the SLS in Utah, the engines generated so much heat that they fused desert sand into glass.

When and where can I watch it?

The launch will be streamed live on Nasa’s website and YouTube channel and is scheduled to take off at around 1:33pm Irish time.

What is so special about this mission?

Tomorrow’s launch is the first real test of the SLS rocket. Nasa thinks it can transport the unmanned Orion spacecraft around the moon and back, but they’ll find out for sure tomorrow.

That makes a lot of people at NASA nervous.

Nasa Administrator Bill Nelson told CBS News on Sunday: “I’m afraid people think it’s routine. But when those candles go out, it’s anything but routine. It’s a tightrope act to the very top. … This is a big deal. And it’s beautiful. And it’s a monster. The size just overwhelms you.”

And if it’s successful?

If it does what Nasa believes, the SLS rocket will result in humans being further from Earth than ever before, and it will also send more astronauts and higher-speed equipment to the Moon to explore.

Artemis III in 2024 will aim to be the first mission to put a woman and a person of color on the moon, Nasa said.

“The next step is to send humans on bold missions to the moon and beyond. As SLS evolves over the course of future missions into unprecedented payload mass and volume customization and unmatched performance, the rocket will enable NASA to launch missions into space and reach distant targets faster than ever before.

“On its second mission with Orion and astronauts, Artemis II, SLS will send Orion and its crew further than humans have traveled before, approximately 250,000 miles from Earth, 10,000 miles beyond the Moon.

“On the third flight, Artemis III, SLS will send Orion and astronauts on a mission in 2024 that will land on the moon. Americans along with their international atCommercial partners will use the moon as a proving ground to test technologies and prepare for missions to Mars,” NASA said of the mission.

Could something go wrong?

You bet. Nasa is quite concerned ahead of Monday’s launch, which is expected to draw up to 200,000 in-person viewers to Florida.

“This is a very risky mission,” Jim Free, NASA deputy director for exploration systems development, told reporters in Florida on Saturday.

“We have a lot of things that could go wrong during the mission in places where we might have to come home early or cancel to get home.

“Our possible outcomes on Monday are we could go inside the window or we could scrub for a number of reasons. We’re not going to promise we’ll get out on Monday,” Mr Free said.

Currently, forecasts show an 80 percent chance of good weather around the start time. There is a two-hour window in which Artemis I can launch or must be unplugged.

How long will the mission last?

six weeks The Orion spacecraft is expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere on October 10, having come within 60 miles of the moon on day six and then orbiting it for a few weeks before hopefully splashing into the Pacific Ocean. Artemis 1: Why Nasa thinks Monday’s moon launch will change space exploration forever

Fry Electronics Team

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