After several postponements – NASA’s test flight to the Moon begins
It will orbit the moon for three weeks and soon will take people back to the moon: NASA’s “Orion” lunar capsule is finally launched into space. So far there have been problems. Also on board: Johar and Helga.
NAfter months of delays, NASA’s embattled lunar mission “Artemis 1” took off for its first test launch on Wednesday. The unmanned capsule “Orion” was launched from the Cape Canaveral Cosmodrome in Florida, USA by the “Space Launch System” rocket, as shown in live images from the US space agency NASA.
“Orion” is scheduled to orbit the moon for three weeks before the capsule is expected to return to Earth on December 11.
The mission has so far not been under a lucky star: after delays and exploding costs in development and construction, the first test launch was postponed several times – due to two consecutive storms and various technical problems, among others.
With Project Artemis, named after the Greek goddess of the moon, American astronauts are set to land on the moon again in the coming years, for the first time by a woman and a non-white person.
The mission will initially carry four astronauts into lunar orbit with Orion, where two of them will transfer to a lander for final approach to the moon. Commencement is currently scheduled for 2025. A rover is also planned.
The last man walked on the moon in 1972
In addition, outposts are to be built on and in orbit around the Moon, as well as the basis for a future Mars mission. The European Space Agency, ESA, and other space agencies are also involved in the project, which currently costs around $30 billion.
NASA sent the last humans on the moon in 1972 with the “Apollo 17” mission. Overall, the United States is the only country to land twelve astronauts on the moon with the “Apollo” missions between 1969 and 1972.
The “Artemis 1” test mission carried no humans, but two dolls – or “space phantoms”, as the German Space Agency (DLR) calls them: Zohr and Helga. It is a project with German and Israeli contributions. A protective suit developed in Israel is being tested to see if it can effectively protect a woman’s body from particularly dangerous space radiation.
“Thanks to a sophisticated energy-saving strategy, both Phantoms managed well the waiting time before take-off,” DLR said. “Helga and Zohar are fit for flight.”
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