Nasa stacks Orion capsule atop Artemis 1 as moon mission nears

Final preparations begin for Nasa’s Artemis programme to return astronauts to moon

Nasa’s Orion crew capsule has been secured to the top of the Space Launch System rocket at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Final preparations are beginning for the first uncrewed launch in Nasa’s Artemis programme to return astronauts to the moon.

The fully stacked rocket stands at 322ft (98 metres), about 6ft taller than Big Ben in London. The European Space Agency has provided the critical service module that gives the Orion capsule electricity, air, water, communications and propulsion.

Nasa has said the launch date will be no earlier than 12 February 2022, but that depends on the rocket passing a number of critical tests in the coming months.

Artemis 1 will robotically orbit the moon before returning to Earth, where the Orion capsule will splash down in the ocean.

Artemis 2 will be a similar mission, except there will be four astronauts on board. After that, Nasa and its international partners expect to begin a series of missions that will establish a space station in lunar orbit, and land people on the surface of the moon. Under President Trump, boots on the ground was mandated for 2024. In reality, it will be several years later.

Contributor

Stuart Clark

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Spacewatch: Airbus to build three more moon mission modules
Three more European service modules will be made for use as part of Nasa’s Artemis programme

Stuart Clark

05, Feb, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
Nasa fast-tracks habitation module for planned moon landing
Nasa bypasses normal tender process to help meet White House directive of landing humans on moon by 2024

Stuart Clark

25, Jul, 2019 @8:30 PM

Article image
Spacewatch: private Israeli mission on course for the moon
Beresheet spacecraft will attempt to land on the moon and measure its magnetic field

Stuart Clark

21, Mar, 2019 @9:30 PM

Article image
Spacewatch: Nasa wants $1.6bn next year to get astronauts to moon by 2024
The space agency says it intends to send both a woman and a man on Artemis programme’s first mission

Stuart Clark

16, May, 2019 @8:30 PM

Article image
Nasa invites bids from firms to build lunar lander for 2024 mission
Artemis project aims to create a ‘sustained’ human presence on the moon by 2028

Stuart Clark

03, Oct, 2019 @8:30 PM

Article image
Spacewatch: Nasa telescope launch – keep watching this space
Fresh delay to the James Webb Space Telescope, because of test results that need investigating, will bring the cost to $9.6bn

Stuart Clark

27, Jul, 2018 @4:47 PM

Article image
Spacewatch: Nasa moonshot to come four years early
US plan to return astronauts to moon before end of 2024 will need additional funds

Stuart Clark

04, Apr, 2019 @8:30 PM

Article image
Nasa delays James Webb space telescope launch after ‘sudden’ incident
Technicians were preparing to attach spacecraft to launch vehicle when unplanned event took place

Stuart Clark

25, Nov, 2021 @10:20 AM

Article image
European Space Agency awards Hera asteroid mission to German firm
Deal worth £118m covers design, manufacturing and testing of ESA’s first planetary defence mission

Stuart Clark

17, Sep, 2020 @8:30 PM

Article image
Spacewatch: Nasa awards first contract for lunar space station
Maxar wins $375m deal to build the Lunar Gateway’s power and propulsion element

Stuart Clark

30, May, 2019 @8:30 PM