NASA's Artemis 1 Moon Mission: Know What is Artemis program and Why Its Launch has been put on ‘Unplanned Hold’

NASA's Artemis 1 Moon Mission: NASA had to put the Historic Lunar Mission Artemis 1 on hold because of a leak in one of the four RS-25 engines.Know What is Artemis program and Why Its Launch has been put on ‘Unplanned Hold’ Here.

NASA's Artemis 1 Moon Mission
NASA's Artemis 1 Moon Mission

NASA's Artemis 1 Moon Mission: NASA had to put the Historic Lunar Mission Artemis 1 on hold because of a leak in one of the four RS-25 engines. In its official briefing, NASA had informed that a fuel leak ‘at an acceptable level’ had interrupted the launch countdown for its new moon rocket Artemis. The launch was called off merely 40 minutes before the official launch schedule due to a technical snag. The leak was found during the rehearsal at the same place where it was found earlier during its testing. Following this, the launch of NASA's Artemis 1 Moon Mission has been put on ‘Unplanned Hold’ until further notice.

At the time of the testing, when the launch was called off, there were no on board the Orion capsule which was mounted atop the new moon rocket Artemis. Instead, three test dummies were strapped in for the lunar-orbiting mission, which was expected to last about six weeks.

What is Artemis Programme?

Named after Apollo's mythological twin sister, Artemis is NASA’s 21st Century Moon Exploration Programme under which the space agency plans to send astronauts to the Lunar surface again. The programme is also being called the first flight of a biology experiment which will also aim to land the first woman and first person of colour on the Moon’ later on.

Artemis has been conceptualized as a human and robotic Moon exploration program, with which NASA plans to re-establish a human presence on the Moon. Under this programme, NASA plans to return to the lunar surface, nearly 50 years after the completion of the Apollo Programme under which the last mission Apollo 17 was launched in 1972. To execute NASA’s Moon Mission, the space agency has developed a 322-foot (98-meter) rocket. The Artemis Rocket or Space Launch system is the most powerful rocket in the world, which surpasses the Saturn V that carried astronauts to the moon a half-century ago.

NASA has devoted Artemis 1 mission as an uncrewed test flight around the Moon to check the rocket and Orion Space Capsule. This will be followed by Artemis 2, which will be a manned lunar orbital mission, which will take astronauts into orbit around the Moon without landing on its surface. Artemis 3, which is scheduled for 2025 will see humans return to the lunar surface.

However, Artemis Programme’s ultimate goal is to establish a lasting human presence on the lunar surface in the form of a base. In addition to this, the programme also aims to develop Moon Orbital Space Station named Gateway, which can act as a spaceport for human space travel. The Gateway space station will work as a staging and refuelling station for a voyage to Mars.

Artemis 1 Moon Mission

Artemis 1, the first under the Artemis Programme, is a lunar orbital mission under which the Artemis Space Launch System and the Orion Crew Capsule, will be tested for human missions. The mission is being treated as a test flight as a six-week uncrewed mission which aims to go around the moon.

The Orion Crew Capsule will be fitted with test dummies with sensors instead of real crew members. The sensors will measure the acceleration, vibration and radiation levels that they go through to determine if the travel would be safe for a human being or not.

Another key objective of the mission is to test the capsule's heat shield, which at 16 feet in diameter is the largest ever built. Through Artemis 1, NASA would want to check if the shield can withstand a speed of 25,000 miles per hour and a temperature of 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit (2,760 degrees Celsius) upon re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere. If the test flight goes well, in later missions, the rocket's Orion capsule will be used to transport a woman and a person of colour to the Moon for the first time.

Another key objective of Artemis 1 is to carry out BioExpt-1, a set of four biological experiments that are aimed at studying the impact of space radiation. For these experiments, scientists will send plant seeds, algae as well as cellular systems such as fungi, and yeast to study radiation effects on biological systems. The experiment is likely to uncover how biological systems can evolve and thrive in deep space.

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