NASA Artemis I Mission Launched; Everything To Know About The Moon Mission

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NASA Artemis I Mission Launched Despite Storm Damage
Photo Credit: NASA

NASA Artemis I mission has finally escaped Earth’s gravity despite being hit with several delays and technical glitches in the past couple of months. The space agency’s uber-expensive Space Launch System (SLS) was recently damaged due to strong wind gusts from Hurricane Nicole.

 

However, that didn’t stop NASA engineers from clearing the spacecraft for launch. The Artemis I mission took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 12.18 PM (IST) on November 16.

NASA’s Moon Ambitions Finally On Track?

The Artemis I mission will witness an uncrewed Orion spacecraft launch aboard the SLS vehicle into Moon’s orbit. The mission is meant to lay the groundwork for upcoming Artemis missions that will see humans return to the lunar surface. The marquee space agency eventually aims to set up a sustainable human base on the Moon.

The Artemis II mission is meant to ferry astronauts to into the lunar orbit in 2023, while the Artemis III mission will be launched in 2024 or 2025, and will see astronauts set foot on the lunar surface again after five decades.

The marquee space agency was under immense pressure to launch its uber-expensive Space Launch System, especially after years of delay in its development and investing over $10 billion.

Artemis I Mission Suffered Several Delays

The Artemis I mission finally took off in its fourth attempt. The rocket was recently damaged by Hurricane Nicole where a ten feet-long piece of insulation was ripped apart from the rocket due to the hurricane.

The piece of insulation is used to reduce aerodynamic heating that happens during ascent. The strip, called RTV, got peeled off the base of the Orion capsule’s cone.

"It was an area that was about ten feet in length [on the] windward side where the storm blew through," said Sarafin, as quoted by CBS News. "It is a very, very thin layer of RTV, it's about .2 inches or less... in thickness."

 

Artemis I Mission Overcomes Engine Issues

The first attempt was canceled due to an engine bleed issue. The engineers learned about the issue while propellants were being loaded. The teams didn’t address the issue during an earlier dress rehearsal. At the time, the officials said that the launch was the only way to test it.

There can be several issues that can cancel a rocket launch, as the process involves an immense level of complexity. And, these issues become more likely in the case of an untested new rocket.

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