The National Aeronautical Space Administration's (NASA) Artemis 1 Mission is an uncrewed mission that will test all the components necessary to transport
human beings to the moon and return them safely back to earth. The complexities of such a task are astounding. Getting all the different
machinery built by a whole host of companies to work seamlessly the first time is nothing short of a testament to mankind's scientific ability. It's a big deal and
the United State's future depends upon it. The specifics of the Artemis Mission 1 are listed below.
- Test the Liftoff Engines. This is more formally known as the Space Launch System (SLS) Core Stage. The Core Stage is responsible for getting the Artemis I rocket off of the launch pad
and into earth orbit. It is comprised of 4 RS-25 engines, 2 Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), and the fuel tanks. The Core Stage is
really the bottom 3/4 of the rocket.
Note. After Artemis I is lifted into orbit, the core stage simply falls back to earth and lands in the ocean where it is retrieved by ship. There is no synchronized, symphonic landing
of the boosters as is seen with a SpaceX launch. The objectives of this mission do not include booster reusability. Some day they will, but not for this mission.
- Test The Propulsion Engine. This is more formally known as the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS). The ICPS is responsible for getting the Artemis I rocket
out of earth orbit and onto a trajectory towards the moon. The velocity of Artemis 1 at that point will be approximately 22,670 mph.
Its primary component is a RS10 rocket engine that has been used by Delta rocket program for years. The ICPS is located just above
the core stage and is considered part of the SLS.
- Test Earth Ground Communication Systems. This includes all the telemetry, remote commands, responses, etc. required to support an automated (uncrewed) journey to the moon.
- Test Mini Satellite Deployment Capability. After the ICPS puts Artemis I on a moon trajectory, it will separate from the Crew Capsule and
deploy a set of mini satellites called CubeSats (NanoSatellites). These tiny satellites do many different scientific things and are key components
because ultimately, they can be used as scouts to aid in future mission planning.
Note. After deployment of the CubeSats, the ICPS's trajectory will be oriented towards the sun to which it will eventually collide. Who knows, in about a year,
your suntan may include photons created from the burning up of the ICPS.
- Test the Orion Crew Capsule And Service Module.The Crew Capsule really consists of two parts, the Crew Capsule itself and a Service Module which contains
life support systems, thrusters, etc. and is attached to the "back" of the Crew Capsule. As the Crew Capsule journeys to the moon, every test imaginable will be run.
- Test Ability To Achieve Moon Orbit. Artemis I (Crew Capsule / Service Module) have to get into moon orbit. The functionality of the Aerojet Rocketdyne engine attached to the
Service Module will be the primary point of focus.
- Test Crew Capsule and Service Module Capabilites While In Moon Orbit. Maneuvarability (thrusters, etc.) and other technical capabilities of the crew capsule
and service module will be tested thoroughly during moon orbit. Maybe we might even get a new
- Test Ability To Escape Moon Orbit. To get back to earth, the Artemis I Crew Capsule and Service Module will need to break free from Moon orbit and
embark on a trajectory back to earth. This will require firing the Aerodyne Rocket engine attached to the Service Module and thus will be the primary point of
- Test Re-Entry Heat Shield. When the crew capsule and service module nears earth, the service module will separate from the crew capsule leaving the
crew capsule as the only thing that returns to earth. A heat shield is on the bottom of the crew capsule whose primary purpose is to deflect the heat produced by
friction as the capsule re-enters the earth's atmosphere. The effectiveness of the heat shield is tested here.
- Test Splash Down Features. Splash down is another word for landing. When the capusule enters the earth's atomosphere, parachutes will deploy and the
capsule will be targeted to land in the ocean. Once the capsule lands, the ability to float, orient itself upright, and provide an environment that allows survivability
during the time awaiting retrieval will be tested thoroughly.
- Post Mission Analysis.. Once the capsule is retrieved, detailed analysis will begin. It is now the nerds turn. Every last bit of data will be scrubbed thoroughly
as it should. Remember, this is the start of humanity's expansion to the stars and the kickoff for each and everyone of us to up our game and meet the technical requirements
associated with this feat.
A graphic sourced from the NASA website describing the mission is shown below. Click on it to get a more detailed, full size version.
To further aid in the above mission overview, a picture of the Artemis 1 Rocket is shown below. The image shows the Core Stage, the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage,
The Service Module, and Crew Capsule components. Click on it for a more detailed, full sized image.
The NASA Website is located at https://www.nasa.gov and the
NASA Youtube Channel is at https://www.youtube.com/c/NASA.
And lastly, the Artemis Specific Section of nasa.gov website is found at https://www.nasa.gov/artemis
These resources combine to include everything from which all space commentary derives. They are incredible.