Who remembers John Young, Charles Duke, Harrison Schmidt and Gene Cernan? These Americans were the last four men to walk on the moon during the Apollo 16 and 17 missions. That was in 1972. Apollo 18, 19, and 20 never happened, canceled for budget reasons, and no doubt because the conquest of the moon no longer attracted crowds or media. Kind of like saying “done” by ticking off a to-do list and moving on to other things…however, there’s a lot to do, on and on the moon, but it took five A ten-year wish to go back there came true. First driven by the Chinese, with the success of the Chang’e plan, and now with the great return of the Americans. 2022 is expected to be a new starting point for conquering the moon, with more than a dozen missions on the starting line.
The one that catches all eyes is undoubtedly Artemis-1, which may take off in the spring. Apollo’s twin sister in Greek mythology, the goddess Artemis lent her name to NASA’s lunar return program, which aims to land humans — especially the first woman — on our moons surface. Nature in 2025. As Jean Blouvac, director of the National Space Research Center’s Exploration and Crewed Flight Program, « Artemis-1 will mark first flight of America’s new heavy-launcher Space Launch System [SLS]with the Orion spacecraft, which are the modern-day successors to the Saturn V rockets and Apollo spacecraft of the 1960s and 1970s.” More than a decade from now, the SLS is expected to be the most powerful launcher ever built. In its first version, it will be able to put about 30 tons into lunar orbit.
Round-trip lunar orbit
Whoever said the first flight (or “qualification flight” in space terminology) also said unmanned. The goal is to test materials and systems. A nearly 100-meter-tall monster flanked by two solid-state boosters, the SLS will rip itself off the ground in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and lift the Orion (part of it, the service module, by the European NASA provided) ) in orbit around the Earth. The intermediate stage would then provide enough thrust for the capsule to launch toward the moon. Orion will approach 100 kilometers from the star’s surface and will use its gravitational pull to enter a distant orbit (70,000 kilometers from our satellite).
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