Another Satellite Launched By NASA Artemis I Mission Dies

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Another Satellite Launched By NASA Artemis I Mission Dies
Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA Artemis I Moon Mission embarked on its maiden voyage on November 16. The uncrewed Orion spacecraft launched a suite of 10 CubeSats, small satellites that are built to perform tasks including photographing the lunar surface and observing the effects of space radiation.

 

However, not everything went according to the space agency’s plans. NASA has announced that teams have lost connection with their CubeSat to Study Solar Particles (CuSP), a mission deployed to understand the effect of the Sun’s radiation on the lunar surface.

Communications Lost With Satellites

As of now, four CubeSats launched by NASA’s Artemis I mission are missing in action, which indicates the difficulties space agencies face in deploying and staying connected to tiny satellites from hundreds of miles away.

The marquee space agency also lost contact with its Near-Earth Asteroid Scout (NEA Scout), a solar sail spacecraft created to observe a small asteroid named 2020 GE. The aim was to have NEA Scout unfold a huge 924-square-foot solar sail to reach the space rock within a year, but NASA is yet to reestablish communications with the satellite.

Japan’s OMOTENASHI CubeSat also suffered a similar fate. The satellite was meant to demonstrate new methods of landing and exploring the lunar service. However, just days after its release, the team lost connection.

Moreover, a CubeSat designed by Team Miles, which was meant to showcase a new hybrid thruster system, also went silent and has been presumed lost, as per Sky and Telescope.

Not All Satellites Have Failed

While four of the CubeSats have gone silent, other missions launched by Artemis I have worked as intended. For example, NASA and the Italian Space Agency's ArgoMoon demonstrator has managed to beam back some incredible images of the far side of the Moon.

Besides, the space agency’s BioSentinl CubeSat has successfully started investigating how yeast and similar microorganisms get affected by radiation when exposed to the sun for a long duration.

While having only six of ten CubeSat missions survive after deployment might appear as a low success rate, considering the level of complexity involved it’s still a good number. The Artemis I Moon mission is on its way back to Earth and is expected to splash down on December 11.

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