Status : 16.11.2022 8:29 am
With the “Artemis” program, NASA plans to return humans to the Moon. So far there have been mainly problems, now the first part of the mission has started successfully. In addition to the space capsule “Orion” also on board: “Zohar” and “Helga”.
After months of postponement, the beleaguered NASA moon mission “Artemis 1” has taken off for the first test launch. The unmanned capsule “Orion” with the rocket “Space Launch System” launched from the Cape Canaveral Cosmodrome in Florida, as can be seen on live images from the US space agency.
“Orion” will remain in orbit around the Moon for about three weeks before the capsule is expected to return to Earth on December 11.
delay and cost explosion
The mission so far has not been under a good star: after development and construction delays and explosion costs, the first test launch had to be postponed several times – due to two consecutive storms and various technical problems, among other things.
With the “Artemis” program, named after the Greek goddess of the moon, American astronauts are to land on the moon again in the coming years, the first time a woman and a non-white person.
The mission will initially carry four astronauts into lunar orbit with Orion, where two of them will transfer to a landing vehicle for final approach to the Moon. The opening is currently planned for 2025 at the earliest.
Baseline for subsequent Mars missions
In addition, outposts are to be built on the Moon and in its orbit, as a base for subsequent Mars missions. The European Space Agency ESA and space agencies of several other countries are also involved in the project, which currently costs around $30 billion.
NASA brought the last people to the moon in 1972 with the “Apollo 17” mission. Overall, the United States was the only country ever to send twelve astronauts to the Moon between 1969 and 1972.
“Phantom Astronaut” on board
There are no people on board the “Artemis 1” test mission, but two dolls – or “astronaut phantoms” as the German Aerospace Center (DLR) calls them: “Zohar” and “Helga”. It is a project with German and Israeli participation.
It is being tested whether a protective vest developed in Israel can protect a female body from particularly dangerous space radiation. “Thanks to a sophisticated power-saving strategy, both Phantoms well survived the waiting time before take-off,” said the DLR. “Helga and Zohar are fit for flight.”
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