#Dress #rehearsal #NASA #send #man #Moon
NASA must carry out a first 42-day test mission, called Artemis 1: a vacuum flight around the Moon. In 2025 it is this super-powerful rocket that will carry astronauts to land on the Moon.
The prospect of seeing a Man on the Moon again approaches this summer and generates scientific and popular excitement. On August 29, in fact, the NASA space center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, will take off, before an expected 100,000 people, the world’s largest rocket, heading for the Moon. An unmanned test of what looks like a rehearsal for what will happen in 2024.
This “blank” flight has already been three years in the making. For the first time since the last Apollo mission, Apollo 17, which ended on December 19, 1972, the world’s most powerful rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), capable of propelling up to 45 tons, will send a habitable capsule into space . , named Orion, to orbit around the Moon, before returning to Earth. Starting in 2024, astronauts will embark on the same trip, and the following year (at the earliest), they will set foot on the Moon again.
For this first 42-day test mission, called Artemis 1, a dozen people will be at all times in the hall of the famous “Mission Control Center”, modernized for the occasion. “This is all completely new. A completely new rocket, a completely new ship, a completely new control center”, summarizes Brian Perry, who will be at the console in charge of the trajectory right after launch.
Outside the control room, it’s near the Johnson Space Center in Houston that’s more than the moon, and the enjeu is also capital than the moon’s conquest. the Cold War. In fact, the ambitions of the United States, Russia and China have increased in recent years.
In March 2019, Donald Trump had decided the return of American astronauts to the Moon starting in 2024, instead of 2028. For the president of Make America Great Again, finding American leadership in space in the face of Chinese ambitions in particular was a priority. Despite the difficulties in balancing its budget and establishing alliances with India and Europe – an alliance reduced to nothing with the invasion of Ukraine – the Russian agency Roscosmos, which has not approached the Moon since 1976, is preparing four lunar missions and should launch Luna 25 next month, a lunar lander that is due to land near the lunar South Pole. China, which collected and brought back to Earth, with Chang’e-5, a lunar soil sample, plans to launch manned missions to the Moon by 2025-2030. The Chang’e 7 mission scheduled for around 2024 aims to find water at the South Pole. China has always theorized with the European space agency “Moon Village”: a first colony of six to ten people (scientists, engineers, technicians) that could settle on the Moon in 2030.
But in this multitude of projects, the symbolic charge of seeing a man step on our closest star again is immense.
a moon pool
In Houston, in the middle of the immense pool more than 12 meters deep where astronauts train, a black curtain has been drawn: on one side the submerged replica of the International Space Station; on the other, a lunar environment is created at the bottom of the basin, with gigantic rock models, manufactured by a company specializing in aquarium decoration. The astronauts can then experience a sensation close to weightlessness. For lunar training, they weigh themselves so they feel only one-sixth of their weight and are guided remotely, with the four-second delay they will face on the Moon. Six astronauts have already trained there, and another six will follow in late September, donning NASA’s new lunar suits for the first time.
NASA has designed other simulators, including a replica of the 9m3 Orion capsule. Thanks to virtual reality headsets, astronauts will be able to get used to walking in the difficult light conditions of the South Pole of the Moon, where the Artemis missions will land. Intense training before the big day that will mark history…