Our space adventure officially started in 1969 when Nail Armstrong said, “One small step for man, one giant leap for humanity”. Although scientists have set foot on the Moon more than once in the past 53 years, the lunar surface will now be visited for new targets. NASA did not get a successful result from its launch attempt yesterday. So how will the Artemis spacecraft change the fate of humanity? What is NASA’s real goal? Here are all the wonders in 6 QUESTIONS…
The American National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( NASA ) is preparing to return to the lunar surface after 50 years. The Space Launch System (SLS) Within The Scope Of The Artemis 1 mission launched from Cape Carnaval Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the Artemis spacecraft carried by the rocket could not be launched yesterday due to technical problems.
NASA; While promoting the Artemis 1 program, named after Apollo’s twin sister in Greek mythology, Artemis announced that the spacecraft would create a “turning point” in a sense. Officials stated that 50 years later, they would achieve a similar success to the Apollo Project in the 1960s and 1970s with the first vehicle capable of taking people to the Moon.
The vehicle, which was planned to be launched yesterday at 08.33 local time (15:33 Turkish time) but had to be delayed, is the largest and most powerful rocket NASA has ever built.
The spacecraft, which will take off with a thrust of 39.1 Meganewtons, will complete its first mission by landing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego on October 10, after completing a 42-day mission to the Moon and its surroundings.
Why is the Artemis 1 program, which came 50 years later and went down in history as a new step in humanity’s space adventure, so important? What will be the steps to follow the lunar mission? Here are all the unknowns of the new Moon mission in 6 QUESTIONS …
Graphic: Harun Elibol
1) WHY IS THE ARTEMIS1 PROJECT SO IMPORTANT?
With Neil Armstrong and his first step on the Moon in 1969, the golden age of space exploration had begun. In the past 53 years, humanity has made significant progress in space adventure. Advances in space technologies have helped us make significant strides in understanding our planet and ourselves, while making it easier to reach new goals.
Now 50 years later, Moon travel has come back to humanity’s agenda. Launched in the tense atmosphere of the Cold War, the Apollo Project has led to high hopes for humanity to explore space, while the Artemis mission will be a starting point in realizing new goals for new generations.
After Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, who set foot on the Moon with Apollo 11, NASA continued its journey to the Moon, and its last mission was Apollo 17 in 1972. After this trip, the idea of making manned voyages to other planets arose, but these targets could not be realized until today due to the length of the projects and their excessive cost.
While the Moon journey, which will be the first stop before the Mars adventure today, is seen as an important step in testing new technologies, NASA believes that the new journey will be a giant stepping stone for space explorers who will go to more distant planets.
2) WHY WAS THE LAUNCH CANCELED?
While the whole world was counting the minutes for the launch, NASA officials announced that the launch was canceled. Although it was announced that it was postponed to Friday due to the misfortunes that started due to the storm during the refueling, the failure of the RS-25 engine and fuel leakage, an official date has not been announced yet.
Delays and glitches are not uncommon for engineers dealing with a variety of problems during the design of a large vehicle of this caliber. The technical team established after the malfunction started to work just before the launch to determine the problem; but no result.
NASA officials wanted a new plan to be implemented to fix the hydrogen fuel leak. Teams will meet today to try to figure out what went wrong. If they can’t launch a rocket by the end of this week, then the giant spacecraft will be pulled into the hangar and the launch will be delayed by at least a month.
3) WHO WILL ATTEND ORION?
Returning to space as part of the Artemis 1 mission, the Artemis spacecraft will make its first journey unmanned. NASA officials aim to collect a lot of data on this journey. A mannequin named Moonikin Campos, designed by NASA engineer Arturo Campos, will sit in the command seat of the Artemis 1 Project . On the seat of the spacecraft, there will be two more lifeless mannequins, named Helga and Zohar, dressed in the Orion Crew Survival System spacesuit, containing two radiation sensors.
Mannequins specially designed by NASA contain human bone, soft tissue and human proportions. Most of the inanimate dummies will be used for radiation detection and measurement.
Also, the model called Zohar will wear a radiation protection vest called AstroRad, while Helga will not. In addition, the beloved character of the British animation studio Aardman’s stop-motion cartoon series Mossy Bottom Farm, which has increased its popularity all over the world, Shaun the Sheep and the cartoon character Snoopy will take part in Artemis 1 role.
The dummies Zohar and Helga, who took part in the Artemis 1 mission. Photo: Alamy
Artemis 1 mission manager Mike Sarafin said, “The tests will provide valuable data on the radiation levels that astronauts may encounter on lunar missions. The effectiveness of the new protective suits will be evaluated during this journey . ”
“This trip is aimed at testing the Artemis spacecraft and the Space Launch System ,” Sarafin said at a press conference on Saturday . Artemis 1, we will learn a lot from the test flight. And thanks to this experience, we will change everything needed to prepare ourselves for a crewed flight on the next mission .
4) WHAT ARE THE TECHNICAL FEATURES OF THE ORION SPACE VESSEL?
The Artemis missions mark the beginning of an exciting new era of space exploration. The Artemis spacecraft, which enables astronaut missions to Mars and beyond, will be tested on the journey, and new technologies will be tested.
It is scheduled to return to Earth after a 6-week Artemis 1 test flight around the Moon. Artemis1 will travel 1.3 million miles over 42 days. Orion’s crew module was built by the technology and aerospace company Lockheed Martin; The European Service Module, which is vital for thermal control, electricity, air and water supply, was produced by the “Defence and Space” department of aviation giant Airbus.
However, the Crew Module on the Artemis spacecraft, which weighs 2.5 million kilograms, will house four astronauts. The vehicle, which will take off with a thrust of 39.1 Meganewtons, has 8 auxiliary engines. In addition, the 7-meter-long panels with 3,750 solar cells on the vehicle provide the necessary power to the spacecraft.
If the Artemis spacecraft has a serious problem on the launch pad, the newly designed system takes action within milliseconds and stops the launch process. It turned out that this system worked effectively after the cancellation of the planned launch on Monday.
In addition, the spacecraft has advanced systems that will ensure that the crew is safely removed from an out-of-control rocket in case of a possible problem that may arise after the launch.
HUNDRED THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FROW TO WATCH THE MOON JOURNEY
Space travel not only stands out for its technical background, but also attracts great attention from the masses because it evokes the conquest of unknown planets. So much so that more than 200,000 people flocked around the Cape Carnaval Kennedy Space Center to watch the spacecraft launch.
Hotels were booked months in advance. While there was no place in restaurants in Florida, the Traffic created by hundreds of thousands of guests from outside literally turned life into a nightmare.
Thousands of people disembarked from the five cruise ships that docked in Canaveral Harbor stood ready to watch the launch with a gasp. The Coastal Road has turned into a parking lot. Increasing crowds led to a state of emergency declared in Brevard County.
Visitors at Kennedy Space Center awaiting the launch of the NASA moon rocket scheduled for the Artemis 1 mission. Photo: AP
5) WHAT IS NEXT AFTER THE ARTEMIS PROJECT?
NASA’s leading astrophysicists and scientists will have taken the first real step towards the conquest of deep space with the Artemis project. However, this project, which works very slowly and will come to a conclusion with the collaboration of separate studies, consists of three stages.
NASA aims to start the Artemis 2 mission in 2024 at the latest, after testing new space technologies on the unmanned moon journey in the first phase of the Artemis project. As part of this project, NASA will launch a manned lunar voyage to test Orion’s critical systems and potential disaster scenarios. The Artemis spacecraft, which will enter the orbit of the Moon, will again go around the Moon.
The Artemis 3 project will be the last mission to step on the moon. During this mission, a female astronaut is expected to set foot on the Moon for the first time. Also, on this mission, for the first time in history, a non-white astronaut will prepare to set foot on the Moon.
AFTER ARTEMIS 3, NOTHING WILL BE THE SAME!
However, the Artemis 3 project will have a very different purpose than previous lunar walks. The final phase will also be the start of the Mars journey. The main goal of NASA officials is to establish a permanent manned base on the lunar surface. At this point, the aim of the authorities lies in the plans to step on Mars thanks to the Space Launch System and establish a self-sufficient base there, just like on the lunar surface.
It is aimed to reduce the dependence on the Earth in travels with the bases that NASA and other organizations have established on the surface of the Moon and Mars. Therefore, large volumes of interplanetary cargo will need to be transported to the lunar surface. After this stage, the Space Launch System will be transformed and carried from the Moon surface to the Martian surface thanks to the Block 1B and Block 2 launch systems.
While there are those who welcome this project with great attention and joy, there are also many who complain about the cost.
6) HOW MUCH DID THE PROJECT COST?
Launched in 2016, the Space Launch System project was frequently criticized by US Congress overseers for over-budgeting. Some experts complained that the Artemis project was unnecessary in the face of the development of the commercial space industry, which developed with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX projects.
So much so that, according to some, NASA had developed the Artemis project in the face of new space technologies with methods left from the prophet noah. The main reason for this is that while Blue Origin SpaceX projects have a reuse feature, the spacecraft created within the framework of the Space Launch System project are disposable.
However, there are many who say that the largest and most powerful spacecraft NASA has ever built was actually designed to offer the world a show of strength.
Most importantly; This ornate spacecraft will cost American citizens $29.5 billion. Not limited to this, NASA calculates a trip to the Moon every two years within the framework of the Space Launch System project, while the cost of these trips will cost 2.2 billion dollars. The preparation cost of each Artemis mission is 4.1 billion Dollars .
As such, to reduce costs, SpaceX’s Starship, Blue Origin’s New Glenn, as well as Boeing and Lockheed Martin’s “United Launch Alliance”, a joint venture, embarked on producing the reusable Vulcan rocket.
OLD CARDS ARE PLACED ON THE TABLE IN A WORLD WHICH BALANCES CHANGED RAPIDLY
In fact, the project also has a serious political background. It was stated that NASA, which prepared its plan to return to the Moon in 2016, adopted an outdated approach and was subject to various criticisms.
Until the geopolitical changes in the axis of China and Russia. In a world where the balance of power is changing rapidly, the USA put its old trump card on the table and wanted to prove its power to the world again with space explorations.
On top of that, in 2016 the US Congress instructed NASA to build an imposing launch system. After the decision, the purse opened and the US Congress announced that NASA would finance the very costly project. Those who objected to this decision called the Space Launch System project the “Senate Launch System”.
It is highly probable that the Artemis program, which sprouted in the polarized world with the war waged by Russia in Ukraine, and the attitude of China on the Taiwan issue, will open the door to a different space race.