Launch of NASA’s Artemis 1 mission delayed until 2022

The Artemis 1 mission, part of NASA’s plan to return humans to the moon, is expected to delay its launch. The information was not confirmed by NASA, but Ars Technica quoted a source as saying that the launch of the SLS rocket was “guaranteed” (space launch system), the mandate leader should remain in office until “spring 2022,” which is between March and June next year.

Everything suggests that the Covid-19 pandemic is making a comeback in the U.S. as the population refuses preventive vaccines, negatively impacting NASA’s schedule.

Combination of NASA’s SLS and Orion: The spacecraft will bring humans back to the moon, but there are reports of delays in the launch of the first of many missions.Image: NASA/Disclosure

“The agency continues to monitor the increase in Covid-19 cases in the Kennedy area in conjunction with other factors such as weather and emergency operations, and how these factors affect our plan of action,” said NASA spokeswoman Kathryn Hambleton. . “By taking one step at a time, we are moving towards the exit while keeping our team as safe as possible. »

Officially, NASA still appears to admit to launching the Artemis 1 mission “by the end of 2021,” but the agency admits it’s at least two months behind schedule. The agency has now completed the assembly of the SLS rocket, already equipped with propulsion engines and a test assembly that simulates the mass of the Orion spacecraft to which it will be coupled. The purpose is to perform vibration testing on components to understand the difference between the vibrations caused by their motion and those caused by external factors.

Problem: Raw Calendar Preview end These tests are at the end of June.

After the vibration test, NASA will remove the fake spacecraft components to install…the spacecraft itself (a process that can take up to three weeks). The components will then be brought to the launch pad and verticalized. After other small tests, it will be the turn of the overall structural evaluation: the rocket and spacecraft’s fuel tanks will be filled with fuel in a launch simulation that simulates the entire real process, except for the propeller launch part.

According to Ars Technica’s sources, this part should only happen between November and December. After that, the assembly is returned to the assembly warehouse for final inspection and some small tests.

Assuming everything goes according to plan and there are no errors, the rocket will be ready to launch. Otherwise, components will be disassembled to identify errors found, and the rocket will leave Earth only in summer (starting next July).

At Ars Technica, Hambleton said NASA should publish an updated testing schedule covering the entire process from launch to launch. “As usual,” she said, “we won’t release it until we know everything is going according to plan. »

The Artemis I mission is just the first of a project of the same name. Unmanned, in addition to responding to the actual testing of Orion’s thermal protection, will serve as an opening for the company. The idea is that the spacecraft and SLS rocket assembly will remain in retrograde orbit to the moon for about six days before returning to Earth. It wasn’t until then, through the Artemis II mission, that astronauts began traveling in space.

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