Artemis I Launch And Mission

Artemis I Launch: The most expensive rocket in the world starts the flight to the moon. NASA is broadcasting live. Almost nothing can be seen from the flight.

Artemis I Launch image by gmisr

At 7:49 a.m. Central European Time on November 16, 2022, the time had come: Five years after the originally scheduled Artemis I Launch date, NASA’s SLS heavy-duty rocket, the most expensive rocket in the world, is on its first flight. The Artemis I Launch was broadcast live on NASA TV. There was no video transmission from the missile, and the commentary was accompanied by audio cutouts. Computer animation images alone were shown for most of the first stage’s flight. The few video transmissions from the missile were time-delayed, low-resolution, lasted only a few seconds and ran at about five frames per second. The Artemis I Launch Livestream by NASA:

Livestream of Artemis I Launch Mission By NASA

The Artemis I Launch success was announced prematurely and even then the hall microphone in Mission Control failed. While the traditional process of cutting the ties of the male employees present there was already underway, preparations were being made for the deployment of the Orion spacecraft’s solar panels and the ignition of the second rocket stage. This occurred 53 minutes after launch and put the Orion spacecraft on its six-week mission to the moon.

Hydrogen Leaks Obstacles

Hydrogen leaks occurred again as we counted down to today’s attempt to launch the Artemis I mission on the SLS rocket. The first leak appeared during the refueling of the rocket’s first stage, but it closed up on its own after the hydrogen concentration near the leak reached around 4 percent. The second leak occurred after the upper stage had been filled and required the deployment of a so-called Red Team, which specializes in repairs close to the fully fueled rocket.

In the fueled upper stage, losses due to the constantly evaporating hydrogen have to be compensated again and again. The leak occurred at the dedicated fuel line, which was fixed by hand-tightening a packing nut.

After that, the countdown seemed to continue normally until about an hour before the scheduled launch time, a ground control radar went out. The reason for the outage was a faulty Ethernet switch, which took over an hour to replace. The start was then postponed indefinitely from the originally scheduled time of 7:04 a.m. until it finally took place at 7:49 a.m.

The Second Stage

53 minutes after Artemis I launch, the second stage of the rocket successfully raised the lowest point of the orbit to 180 kilometers. Without the maneuver, the Orion spacecraft would have crashed into Earth’s atmosphere before the first Earth orbit. 90 minutes after the Artemis I launch, at the end of the first orbit, the RL-10 upper stage engine was fired again 180 kilometers above the surface of the earth.

Since NASA does not provide live telemetry data, unlike the European ESA or the Indian ISRO, the maneuvers could not be tracked. The only success was reported. In addition, the connection from NASA to the YouTube server repeatedly broke down during the maneuver.

Since separating the upper stage one hour and 55 minutes after the Artemis I launch, the Orion spacecraft has been on its own six-week mission to the Moon. It is powered by a European service module. The main task of the mission is to test the spacecraft systems before the Artemis II mission, where people will be on board the spacecraft. It also measures how much radiation the crew will be exposed to. A landing on the moon is not expected by NASA employees until 2028, regardless of the public information on the timetable for 2025.

Artemis I Launch: Orion carries interesting Cubesat missions

Also on board, Orion is ten Cubesat missions that are scheduled to be suspended four hours after the Artemis I launch. One of the most ambitious missions is probably the 14 kg Japanese moon lander Omotenashi in 6U format, which is equipped with a 6 kg solid rocket motor and nitrogen control engines. It is to be braked to a standstill at a height of around 100 m above the lunar surface and then goes into free fall. The landing is slowed down with an airbag. After the landing demonstration, Omotenashi will measure the radiation on the lunar surface.

The Near Earth Asteroid Scout was also built in 6U CubeSat format. With the help of a 2.5 micrometer thin and 85 square meters solar sail, the mission is to leave the lunar orbit and visit near-Earth asteroids during the planned 2.5-year mission and examine them with a 14-megapixel camera. The goal is the asteroid 2020 GE, which will come within 5.7 million kilometers of Earth in September 2023. NASA hopes to take pictures of the surface of the asteroid. Which is around 18 meters in size, with a resolution of 10 centimeters per pixel.

Other Missions

Other missions are to look for water on the moon. Lunir and Lunar Icecube use infrared spectrometers for this, while the Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper uses a neutron detector. Everyone should test new forms of small electric engines. Biosentinel has yeast cells on board to assess the effects of radiation in space. The Cubesat for Solar Particles (CuSP) is designed to measure solar radiation and Equuleus plasma particles in the Earth’s outer environment.

Team Miles is to test an engine and Argomoon is to observe and automatically accompany the Orion spacecraft’s separation from the rocket’s upper stage. Three other ambitious missions were not completed in time. Lunar Flashlight should use a laser to search for water ice in the permanent shadows of craters. The Cislunar Explorer should produce hydrogen by electrolysis of water and use it as fuel. The Earth Escape Explorer should demonstrate communication with comparatively high data rates at great distances from Earth.

These missions must now look for alternative starting opportunities or wait for Artemis II. When Artemis II starts depends initially on the results of the first mission. With the crew on board, there will be significantly higher safety requirements during the mission.

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