Nasa’s mega rocket to the Moon is back on its launch pad.

Steph Deschamps / November 5, 2022

Nasa’s new giant rocket, SLS, is back on its launch pad in Florida for a new attempt to take off towards the Moon in ten days, which should mark the great beginning of the new American flagship program Artemis.
 
After two failed launches this summer due to technical problems, the rocket had to be returned to its assembly building to be protected from a hurricane.
Nasa took the opportunity to recharge the batteries of many parts of the rocket, including those of some mini-satellites on board.
The journey of a few kilometers from the assembly building to launch pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center took about nine hours. The operation consisted in moving the rocket (98 meters high) on a gigantic platform rolling very gently to avoid vibrations.
 
It arrived at its destination at 08H30 local time.
First flight for a return to the Moon
The test mission Artemis 1, without astronaut on board, will mark the very first flight of the great American program of return on the Moon, whose goal will be to take thereafter the first woman and the first person of color.
This will be the first flight for the Space Launch System (SLS), a heavy-lift launcher developed by NASA for more than a decade.
The new liftoff attempt is scheduled for the night of November 13-14, seven minutes after midnight local time. The launch window lasts a little more than an hour if necessary.
 
We are comfortable with the idea of launching 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 through radar and infrared cameras, he said.
If the launch is successful that day, the mission will last just over 25 days, with a landing in the Pacific Ocean on December 9.
The goal is to verify that the Orion capsule, at the top of the rocket, is safe to carry astronauts in the future. It will be propelled up to 64,000 km beyond the Moon, without landing there, but venturing further than any other habitable spacecraft before it.
 
On its return to the Earth’s atmosphere, its heat shield will have to withstand a speed of nearly 40,000 km/h and a temperature half as hot as the surface of the Sun.
Two dates of retreat for the takeoff have been decided, on November 16 and 19.
The last time men went to the Moon was in 1972.
The Artemis program must this time allow NASA to establish a lasting human presence, including the construction of a space station in orbit around the Moon.
For the American space agency, this is a step to test all the technologies necessary for a future trip to Mars.

 

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