Now will you? Artemis Mission tries to go to the Moon today at 15:17; watch live

Will it go now? NASA will try, for the second time, to send the Artemis 1 mission to the Moon. The launch is scheduled to take place this Saturday (3), at 15:17, and will be broadcast live.

The first attempt took place on Monday (29), but was aborted due to technical problems with the rocket, including a possible crack (later discarded), a small leak of liquid hydrogen (the fuel), and the overheating of one of the RS engines. -25 from the massive SLS (Space Launch System).

“We won’t launch until it’s all right,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said at the time. He recalled the space shuttle program, whose first flight, in 1981, was a success after being delayed four times. “It’s a complicated machine, a complicated system. We won’t light the candle until you’re ready to go.”

Since then, engineers and controllers are analyzing the causes and remediating the failures. The space agency ensures that the rocket is ready and stable, positioned on platform 39B of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), off the coast of Florida.

The mission is highly symbolic for the United States, fifty years after the end of the iconic Apollo program — in 1972, man set foot on the Moon for the last time. Therefore, there will be extensive coverage, with a live broadcast starting at 1:15 pm.

Follow on the NASA channel:

The transmission will continue throughout the translunar injection (maneuver to put the spacecraft on the correct path to the Moon), until the separation of the Orion capsule — which will then proceed alone to our satellite. Updates will be released constantly in the following hours, including the first views of Earth from space, captured by the cameras of the capsule, which will not have astronauts on board.

In case the launch needs to be postponed again, either due to technical problems or weather interference, the next launch window option is on Monday (5). Remembering that it is the beginning of the storm season in the region.

Strawberry’s supermoon in June is photographed behind the SLS, NASA’s most powerful rocket

Image: Joe Skipper/Reuters

The Artemis program

Artemis 1 is the first in a series of ambitious missions that aim to take humans back to the Moon — and eventually to Mars. This voyage will not have people on board yet; it will be a great test “worth” of the entire system, including the largest and most powerful rocket in NASA’s history, the SLS, and the new Orion capsule – where the crew will be in the future.

The voyage is expected to last 42 days, a trial by fire (at times literally) for the ship’s operation and components, such as solar panels and heat shields, until it lands in the Pacific Ocean. Can it withstand the heat, high speed and radiation of space? Thus, its ability to reach our satellite and return to Earth safely for future crew members will be tested.

Orion capsule simulation, with the Moon and Earth in the background

Image: NASA

Future

If all goes well, in 2024, the journey will be repeated with four astronauts on board. They will “just” make a ten-day flyby, circling to the far side of the Moon, about 400,000 kilometers from Earth (the farthest into deep space any human has ever been).

In 2025, finally, the goal is to “alunise” (land on the Moon) and disembark the crew at the South Pole, a different and more challenging location than the ones visited during the Apollo program. No person, not even a robotic mission, has ever landed there.

After 2034, if successful and with funding, the next stage of the Artemis program is to install the “Lunar Gateway”, which would orbit our satellite and serve as a mission support point (a miniature Space Station). In partnership with other agencies, private companies, NASA also intends to establish a permanent base on the ground.

The goal is for the entire structure and experience to also allow manned trips to Mars, initially planned for the late 2030s. Our satellite would serve as a stopover and refueling point on this long journey.

The first time that man was on the Moon was in 1969, in the famous Apollo 11, by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Twelve different people have walked the lunar soil until Apollo 17, the last manned mission, in 1972.

The article is in Portuguese

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