Snoopy to Fly on NASA’s Artemis I Moon Mission

Snoopy as a zero gravity indicator (Credits: 2021 Peanuts Worldwide LLC)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — For more than 50 years, Snoopy has contributed to the excitement for NASA human spaceflight missions, helping inspire generations to dream big. NASA has shared an association with Charles M. Schulz and Snoopy since Apollo missions and continues under Artemis with new educational activities. Up next — Snoopy will ride along as the zero gravity indicator on Artemis I. 

(more…)

Artemis: The Good, the Bad and the Well, Yeah

Artist concept of the SpaceX Starship on the surface of the Moon. (Credits: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and top officials provided an update on the Artemis program on Tuesday, delivering the not unexpected news that the space agency will not meet its deadline of landing a man and the first woman of color at the south pole of the moon in 2024. Instead, the landing will be delayed until at least 2025.

(more…)

NASA Fully Stacked for Moon Mission, Readies for Artemis I

SLS and Orion full stacked in the Vehicle Assembly Building. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Orion spacecraft is secured atop the agency’s powerful Space Launch System rocket, and the integrated system is entering the final phase of preparations for an upcoming uncrewed flight test around the Moon. The mission, known as Artemis I, will pave the way for a future flight test with crew before NASA establishes a regular cadence of more complex missions with astronauts on and around the Moon under Artemis. With stacking complete, a series of integrated tests now sit between the mega-Moon rocket and targeted liftoff for deep space in February 2022.

(more…)

NASA’s Mega Moon Rocket Passes Key Review for Artemis I Mission

A close-up view of the Artemis I Space Launch System rocket inside High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sept. 20, 2021. All 10 levels of work platforms have been retracted from around the rocket as part of the umbilical release and retract test. (Credit: NASA/Frank Michaux)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — NASA has completed the design certification review (DCR) for the Space Launch System Program (SLS) rocket ahead of the Artemis I mission to send the Orion spacecraft to the Moon. The review examined all the SLS systems, all test data, inspection reports, and analyses that support verification, to ensure every aspect of the rocket is technically mature and meets the requirements for SLS’s first flight on Artemis I.

(more…)

Release and Retract Test Marks Artemis I Mission Milestone

A close-up view of the Artemis I Space Launch System rocket inside High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sept. 20, 2021. All 10 levels of work platforms have been retracted from around the rocket as part of the umbilical release and retract test. (Credit: NASA/Frank Michaux)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Engineers with Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs successfully completed the Umbilical Release and Retract Test on Sept. 19 inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in preparation for the Artemis I mission.

The umbilicals will provide power, communications, coolant, and fuel to the rocket and the Orion spacecraft while at the launch pad until they disconnect and retract at ignition and liftoff.

(more…)

Next Generation of Orion Spacecraft in Production for Future Artemis Missions

Now complete, the crew module pressure vessel for Artemis III will be shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where the team will start integrating the spacecraft’s systems and subsystems. Photo taken August 27, 2021. (Credits: NASA/Eric Bordelon)

NEW ORLEANS (NASA PR) — Over the next decade, NASA’s Orion spacecraft will carry astronauts during Artemis missions to the Moon to help prepare for human missions to Mars. Work on the spacecraft for Artemis I is nearly complete, Artemis II is well underway, and NASA is making progress on vehicles for the missions beyond.

The agency recently completed welding on the Artemis III Orion pressure vessel, the underlying frame of the air-tight capsule for astronauts called the crew module. This structure is the first major piece of hardware in Orion’s production phase with lead contractor Lockheed Martin.

(more…)

Orion Stage Adapter Readied for Ride on Artemis I

CubeSats installed for the Artemis I mission. (Credit: NASA/Cory Huston)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Technicians continue to prepare small satellites, called CubeSats, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for their upcoming launch on the Artemis I mission. Technicians from the agency’s Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs worked with developers of the shoebox-sized secondary payloads as they underwent final processing and were secured inside the Orion stage adapter.

The ring-shaped stage adapter will be connected to the Space Launch System (SLS) Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, and the Orion spacecraft will be secured on top. All CubeSats will be deployed after SLS completes its primary mission, launching the Orion spacecraft on a trajectory toward the Moon. Although small in size, the CubeSats will conduct a variety of science experiments and technology demonstrations including some that will expand our knowledge of the lunar surface during the Artemis I mission.

Artemis I will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system: the Orion spacecraft, SLS rocket, and the ground systems at Kennedy. The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration, and demonstrate commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond.

NASA Statement on GAO Ruling Regarding Human Landing System Protest

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The following is the NASA statement in response to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) decision released Friday on the human landing system protest:

“NASA was notified Friday, July 30, that the U.S. Government Accountability Office has denied the protests filed by Blue Origin Federation and Dynetics and has upheld the agency’s source selection of SpaceX to continue the development of its human landing system. The decision enables NASA to award the contract that will ultimately result in the first crewed demonstration landing on the surface of the Moon under NASA’s Artemis plan. Importantly, the GAO’s decision will allow NASA and SpaceX to establish a timeline for the first crewed landing on the Moon in more than 50 years.

“NASA recognizes that sending American astronauts back to the Moon for the first time since the Apollo program and establishing a long-term presence on the Moon is a priority for the Biden Administration and is imperative for maintaining American leadership in space. In the face of challenges during the last year, NASA and its partners have made significant achievements to advance Artemis, including a successful hot fire test for the Space Launch System rocket. An uncrewed flight of Artemis I is on track for this year and a crewed Artemis II mission is planned for 2023. 

“NASA is moving forward with urgency, but astronaut safety is the priority and the agency will not sacrifice the safety of the crew in the steadfast pursuit of the goal to establish a long-term presence on the Moon.

“As soon as possible, NASA will provide an update on the way ahead for Artemis, the human landing system, and humanity’s return to the Moon. We will continue to work with the Biden Administration and Congress to ensure funding for a robust and sustainable approach for the nation’s return to the Moon in a collaborative effort with U.S. commercial partners.” 

Two More Artemis I Deep Space CubeSats Prepare for Launch

Members of the EQUULEUS (EQUilibriUm Lunar-Earth point 6U Spacecraft) team prepare their CubeSat to be loaded in the Space Launch System’s Orion stage adapter for launch on the Artemis I mission. This CubeSat, developed jointly by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the University of Tokyo, will help scientists understand the radiation environment in the region of space around Earth called the plasmasphere. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Two additional secondary payloads that will travel to deep space on Artemis I, the first flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft, are ready for launch.

(more…)

Lockheed Martin Opens Advanced Manufacturing Facility to Expand Orion Spacecraft Production

STAR Center (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

TITUSVILLE, Fla. (Lockheed Martin PR) — Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] opened its Spacecraft Test, Assembly and Resource (STAR) Center today. The STAR Center features business and digital transformation innovations that will expand manufacturing, assembly and testing capacity for NASA’s Orion spacecraft program and ultimately, future space exploration.

(more…)

NASA Solar Sail Asteroid Mission Readies for Launch on Artemis I

Illustration of NASA’s NEA Scout with the solar sail deployed as it flies by its asteroid destination. (Credit: NASA)

Sailing on sunlight, NEA Scout will capture images of an asteroid for scientific study.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Near-Earth Asteroid Scout is tucked away safely inside the agency’s powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rocket at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The solar sailing CubeSat is one of several secondary payloads hitching a ride on Artemis I, the first integrated flight of the agency’s SLS and the Orion spacecraft.

(more…)

Japanese CubeSats to Fly on NASA’s Artemis I Mission

Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft on Pad 39B. (Credit: NASA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) agreed to cooperate on the launch and data exchange for the two JAXA CubeSats on July 2, 2021. Dr. KUNINAKA Hitoshi, Vice President of JAXA/Director General of Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) and Ms. Karen Feldstein, Associate Administrator for International and Interagency Relations of NASA signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

(more…)

Public Names ‘Moonikin’ Flying Around Moon on NASA’s Artemis I Mission

Arturo Campos, electrical power subsystem manager for the Apollo 13 lunar module. (Credits: Courtesy of the Campos Family)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — “Commander Moonikin Campos” is the official name of the manikin launching on Artemis I, NASA’s uncrewed flight test of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft around the Moon later this year. The Moonikin received its name as the result of a competitive bracket contest honoring NASA figures, programs, or astronomical objects. NASA received more than 300,000 votes.

(more…)

A Purposeful Passenger Prepares for Mission Aboard Orion Spacecraft

Moonikin set to fly aboard Orion. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — When NASA’s Orion spacecraft launches aboard the powerful Space Launch System rocket for the spacecraft’s first mission around the Moon later this year, a suited manikin will be aboard outfitted with sensors to provide data on what crew members may experience in flight. As part of the uncrewed Artemis I flight test, NASA is seeking to learn how best to protect astronauts for Artemis II, the first mission with crew.

In this image, engineers use a suited manikin that will fly on Artemis I to conduct vibration testing at Kennedy Space Center on Orion’s seat and energy dampening system – called the Crew Impact Attenuation System – for qualification ahead of Artemis II. 

The manikin flying on Artemis I will occupy the commander’s seat inside Orion, be equipped with two radiation sensors, and wear a first-generation Orion Crew Survival System suit – a spacesuit astronauts will wear during launch, entry, and other dynamic phases of their missions. The manikin’s seat will be outfitted with two sensors – one under the headrest and another behind the seat – to record acceleration and vibration throughout the mission.

NASA is holding a naming contest beginning Wednesday, June 16 for the manikin that will fly on an upcoming mission around the Moon. Find out about how you can participate in the Name the Moonikin contest.

Learn more on Tumblr: Name the Artemis Moonikin! Choose your player!