Why is the launch date so hard to pin down?

NASA is working on the SLS launcher (WDR, Wet rehearsal) is also preparing for the Artemis I mission to be performed during the SLS’s maiden flight. Artemis 1, which should pave the way for Americans to return to the moon in 2028, could launch in the summer. But on what date? Surprisingly, despite the Moon’s proximity to Earth, launch opportunities aren’t as plentiful as one might think. explain.

If the second attempt repeats starting the timeline and populates launcher SLS (Wide Dynamic Range, Wet rehearsal) is progressing well, and NASA and Boeing should accelerate preparations for the SLS’s maiden flight during the Artemis 1 mission, a date yet to be announced.However, finding the release date is a bit of a headache, because NASA Several parameters must be considered.

Roller coaster around the moon

As a reminder, Artemis 1 will include an uncrewed test flight around the moon with a trajectory similar to that of the mission Apollo 8. Use gravity monthly earnings speed And propelled itself nearly 70,000 kilometers past the moon and nearly half a million kilometers from Earth—more distances than any human has traveled. On his return journey, Orion will execute a Overview Before returning to Earth from the moon.The mission will last about 20 days and will end with a swim in the Pacific Ocean without the service module, which will be detached from the vehicle andatmosphere.

Uncertainty about the launch date of this mission is not only reflected in the WDR test end date and fire Green when using SLS. There are a whole bunch of other parameters to consider.In fact, surprisingly, despite being very close distance between moon and earthwithin the framework of this mission, there are not as many launch opportunities as one might think.

These Windows Major Considerations for Shooting Mechanics track Participate in the precise orbit of launches to the Moon as the Earth rotates on its axis and the Moon rotates around the Earth each month lunar cycle. But not only that.

Four main parameters that determine the release date

Unsurprisingly, the launch date had to take into account the position of the moon so that SLS transmitter A translunar jet burn with sufficient performance could be programmed to intercept the “on-ramp” to retrograde lunar orbit. In the future, this stage will be replaced by the EUS Exploration Upper Stage (upper exploration) more powerful, which would allow for almost daily or even daily launches to the moon, depending on the desired orbit.Furthermore, the final trajectory for a given date must be guaranteedOrion won’t stay in the dark for more than 90 minutes at a time, so it’s Solar panels can receive and convert Light Converted from the sun to electricity, this shows that the spacecraft can maintain an optimal temperature range. Finally, the launch date must allow for a return to the trajectory that authorizes access to the technology, known as the jump.The technique includes a maneuver during which the spacecraft dives into the upper part of the Earth’s atmosphere and utilizes that atmosphere, and elevator Depart from the capsule while slowing down and exiting the atmosphere, then returning for the final descent and splashdown. This technology allows engineers to pinpoint the exact location of the Orion splashdown and, in future missions, will help reduce aerodynamic failure loads experienced by the aircraft. astronaut inside the vessel and keep the structural loads of the vessel within the design limits. Finally, the launch date must allow Orion to be splashed down during the day to help recovery crews locate, protect and recover the spacecraft in the Pacific Ocean.

Taking all these parameters and constraints into account, NASA has identified and finalized 73 potential launch dates between July 26 and December 23, 2022. This leads to a schedule with about two weeks of the possibility of a launch, followed by two weeks of no launch.

Consider the trigger window for Artemis 1

July 26 – August 10

  • 13 launch opportunities
  • No launch on August 1, 2 and 6

August 23 – September 6

  • 12 launch opportunities
  • Impossible on August 30th and 31st and 1Uh September.

September 20 – October 4

  • 14 launch opportunities
  • A September 29 launch is not possible.

October 17 – October 31

  • 11 launch opportunities
  • Impossible to launch on October 24th, 25th, 26th and 28th

November 12 – November 27

  • 12 launch opportunities
  • Impossible to launch on November 20, 21 and 26

December 9 – December 23

  • 11 launch opportunities
  • Impossible to launch on December 10, 14, 18 and 23

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