Artemis I launch: Time to get excited about space again


A spectacular baby step comes Monday with weather and mechanical issues permitting the Artemis I mission, as the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft lift off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Rockets blasting into space can seem relatively routine at a time when corporations and countries are displacing the atmosphere and the wealthy can buy a ticket on a rocket to the International Space Station.

But the unmanned Artemis I mission is a flashback to the inspiring space program of yesteryear, when space attracted national attention and exploring it was a pivotal mission.

Viewing parties are popping up all over the country. Find one near you.

Kristin Fisher, Ashley Strickland, Rachel Crane and Eleanor Stubbs of CNN have all been in this story and what’s below is from their many reports as well as multiple interviews I’ve seen on CNN over the past few days.

Why is the US going back to the moon?

“We’re going back to the moon in preparation to go to Mars,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said Friday morning on CNN’s “New Day.” ‘That is the difference. Fifty years ago we went to the moon for a day, a few hours, a maximum of three days. Now we go back to the moon to stay, to live, to learn, to build.’ Watch the full interview.

How is this mission different from the Apollo moon landing mission 50 years ago?

“When we put people on the moon in the 1960s and 1970s, we were in what felt like a race for survival: the survival of the United States of America against the Soviet Union,” astronaut Stan Love told Jim Sciutto and Poppy from CNN. Hag Friday. “We had an existential threat and we responded to that in a peaceful way, which I think is great, much better than trying to solve that problem with bombs.”

That existential threat disappeared with the Soviet Union, and so did the financing of the space program, which now accounts for a much smaller portion of US spending. More recently, space travel has been an international venture and increasingly commercial.

How incredible is this mission?

The numbers are unbelievable, according to this interactive from Stubbs and Marco Chacón of CNN.

The two explain why this is a test flight:

  • Orion will return to Earth’s atmosphere at 24,500 mph.
  • It will have to withstand 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, half as hot as the sun’s surface.

“Our main goal is that we want to know that the heat shield is going to work in the fiery heat of the return. It comes in hot. It comes in fast, 32 times the speed of sound, Mach 32,” Nelson said on “New Day .”

Should the private sector take over space?

Love argued that we are in the midst of a natural development where industry takes over in lower Earth orbit and the US government looks further out.

“We’re handing over some kind of lower Earth orbit to industry and we’re moving on to the moon and one day we’re going to turn the moon over to industry,” he said.

There’s also a new space race going on

Instead of the Soviet Union, the US is now in a space race with China, Nelson has said.

“We should be very concerned about China landing on the moon and saying, ‘It’s ours now and you stay out,’ Nelson said in July.

Fisher has written about the “due-on attempts by the US and China to build bases on the icy south pole of the moon in the 2030s”. Read her story.

China is now partnering with Russia and has plans to build a new space station. Twenty countries have joined the Artemis mission with the US.

“This is not a rough race to plant a flag,” Scott Pace, director of the George Washington University Space Policy Institute, told Fisher. “The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 says space is the province of all humanity. China has the right to explore and use space. I just don’t want them to be there without us.” (China, the Russian Federation, and the US are all signatories to the treaty.)

Who will win the current race back to the moon?

Fisher: If the 42-day unmanned mission around the moon and back is a success, it will keep NASA on track to meet its goal of getting American astronauts to the moon by 2025. China is aiming for 2030 to land its astronauts, called Taikonauts. on the moon.

The Artemis program aims to land the first woman and the first person of color on the moon and eventually take astronauts to Mars.

Are there people on the mission on Monday?

No. But the flight is unprecedented, Strickland writes. “Orion will travel 40,000 miles (64,373 kilometers) beyond the moon, breaking the Apollo 13 record, to go beyond any spacecraft intended to carry humans.”

Plus, it’s going where humans haven’t been before, and NASA wants to know how things react to deep space before sending humans.

The Orion spacecraft will carry items such as yeast, algae, fungi and seeds instead of a traditional crew. The findings of these experiments are essential to pave a path to the safe return of humans to the moon and an eventual manned landing on Mars via future Artemis missions.

Also on board will be a mannequin, Commander Moonikin Campos.

This is just a first step

The current goal is to send humans to the moon in two years. Assuming everything goes according to plan on Monday.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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