NASA's Artemis lunar mission back on its launch pad

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NASA's Artemis lunar mission back on its launch pad

< p class="styled__StyledLegend-sc-v64krj-0 cfqhYM">The SLS rocket's relaunch attempt is scheduled for the night of November 13-14, seven minutes after midnight Florida local time.

NASA's giant rocket, SLS, is back on its Florida launch pad for another lunar blast attempt in 10 days, to mark the grand debut of America's flagship new Artemis program.

After two launch failures this summer due to technical problems, the rocket had to be returned to its assembly building to be protected from Hurricane Ian.

NASA took the opportunity to recharge the batteries of many elements of the rocket, including those of certain mini scientific satellites on board.

The journey of a few kilometers separating the building from Assembling Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39B took about nine hours. The operation consisted of moving the rocket (98 meters high) on a gigantic platform rolling very gently to avoid vibrations as much as possible.

The Artemis 1 test mission, without an astronaut on board, will mark the first flight of the great American program back to the Moon, whose goal will be to bring the first woman and the first person of color thereafter.

This will be the first flight for SLS (Space Launch System), a heavy launch vehicle developed by NASA for more than a decade.

The new takeoff attempt is scheduled for the night of November 13 to 14, seven minutes after midnight local time. The firing window lasts just over an hour if needed.

We are comfortable with the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčlaunching at night, Jim Free, associate administrator at NASA, said Thursday at a press conference. The data needed to analyze the performance of this new vehicle will be collected using radar and infrared cameras, he said.

If launched successfully that day, the mission will last just over 25 days, with landing in the Pacific Ocean on December 9.

Capsure Orion, atop the SLS rocket, will venture farther than any habitable spacecraft before it.

< p class="e-p">The aim is in particular to verify that the Orion capsule, at the top of the rocket, is safe to transport astronauts in the future. It will be propelled up to 64,000 km beyond the Moon, without landing there, but by venturing further than any other habitable spacecraft before it.

When it returns to Earth's atmosphere, its heat shield will have to withstand a speed of almost 40,000 km/h and a temperature half as hot as the surface of the Sun.

Two fallback dates for liftoff have been set, November 16 and 19.

The last time humans landed on the Moon was in 1972 .

The Artemis program should this time allow NASA to establish a lasting human presence there, with in particular the construction of a space station in orbit around the Moon.

For the American space agency, this is a stage to test all the technologies necessary for a future trip to Mars.

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