Even if Diana’s uncrewed flight continues, Artemis II — which will be the first with astronauts — won’t happen until 2024 at the earliest.
In an interview this summer, Bill Nelson, NASA administrator, spoke about the gap between Artemis I and Artemis II. He answered: “I am Cain raising him.” “If this first mission is successful and meets the goals and is safe for the astronauts, why can’t we get to it a couple of years sooner?”
Mr. Nelson said years ago to save money, NASA reused some of the electronic equipment, known as avionics, from the Artemis I Orion capsule in the new Artemis II Orion capsule. “It takes them two years to get the avionics and redo them,” Mr. Nelson said, “which is very frustrating to me, but it is what it is.”
There will be four astronauts on Artemis II. Three will be from NASA, and one Canadian, will be part of an agreement spelling out the Canadian Space Agency’s participation in the Artemis program. NASA has not yet announced who will fly on the mission.
The trajectory of Diana II will be quite simple. After launch, the second stage of the Orion Space Launch System will propel Orion into the Orion elliptical that loops up to 1,800 miles above Earth. This will give the astronauts time to see how Orion’s systems work.
Then, when Orion goes around again, he will shoot his cannon of fire at the moon. For Diana II, Orion will not enter the space around the moon; It will only use the moon’s gravity to push it to Earth instead of pouring it into the Pacific Ocean. The whole journey should take about 10 days.
The big event will be Artemis III, currently scheduled for no earlier than 2025.
During the Apollo moon landings in the 1960s and 1970s, lunar landings were packed into Saturn V rockets. The descent to Artemis III will be a version of the Starship rocket built by SpaceX. Lunar Starships will be given separately Additional Starships will then be sent to replenish the lunar star tank before leaving Earth’s orbit.
To the moon, the star’s descent will enter what is known as a near-rectilinear halo orbit, or NRHO
The orbit of the halo is affected by the gravity of the two bodies – in this case, the Earth and the Moon – which helps to keep the orbit very stable, reducing the amount of propellant required to keep the moon in orbit. A spacecraft in this orbit also never passes beyond the moon, where communications with Earth are cut off.
When the Starship is in orbit around the moon, the Space Launch rocket system will launch four astronauts into the Orion capsule to the same near-rectilinear halo orbit. Orion will be docked with the Starship. Two of the astronauts will move to the Starship rocket, exiting somewhere near the south pole of the moon, while the other two astronauts will remain in Orion orbit.
After about a week on the surface, the two moonwalk astronauts will enter the Starship and enter orbit with Orion. Orion will then return four astronauts to Earth.
In August, NASA announced 13 potential port sites.
Astronauts will arrive aboard Artemis IV at Gateway, a space station-like station that NASA will build in a rectilinear halo orbit near Artemis III. This mission will use a space-guided rocket system with an upgraded second stage, providing enough capability to capture the second home port module.
NASA originally planned for Artemis IV to inspect the construction of the gate. But this year it was decided that the mission would also include a trip to the lunar surface. On Tuesday, NASA announced that SpaceX will provide the Artemis IV lander.
For Diana V and later lunar missions, the lander landed at the gate. The astronauts will arrive at the Orion Gate, then proceed to descend to the surface.
NASA is currently in the middle of a competition between different companies to provide the Diana V lander.
Among the companies that may bid to build a competing merchant are Origin, the rocket company started by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.
NASA would then run a competition for future lunar landers similar to how mercenary companies would manage to transport astronauts to the International Space Station.
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