Europe Delivers Module for First Astronaut Mission to the Moon

An Antonov aircraft sent the second European Service Module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft across the Atlantic in a custom-built container from Bremen, Germany, on 13 October 2021. (Credit: ESA–A. Conigli)

BREMEN (ESA PR) — The second European Service Module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft is on its way to USA. It is the last stopover on Earth before this made-in-Europe powerhouse takes the first astronauts around the Moon on the Artemis II mission.

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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 All 10 levels of work platforms have been retracted from around the rocket as part of the umbilical release and retract test.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.

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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 All 10 levels of work platforms have been retracted from around the rocket as part of the umbilical release and retract test.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.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Awarded NASA Contract for Orion Spacecraft Main Engine

Artist’s impression of Orion over Earth. (Credit: NASA/ESA/ATG Medialab)

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 21, 2021 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — NASA has selected Aerojet Rocketdyne to build the Orion Main Engine (OME), the primary propulsion element for NASA’s Orion spacecraft that will be used to explore deep space. Under the contract, which runs through 2032, Aerojet Rocketdyne will deliver up to 20 new OME engines for use on future Artemis missions beginning with Artemis VII, or to support other NASA-sponsored, deep space exploration missions.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

From Bremen to the Moon

Orion at the Kennedy Space Center (Credit: NASA/Radislav Sinyak)
  • The first European Service Module (ESM) for the US Orion space capsule will be called ESM-1 “Bremen”. This suggestion comes from the German Space Agency at DLR because the “heart” of the Orion space capsule was largely built in the German Hanseatic city.
  • ESM-1 “Bremen” is currently being prepared at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for its flight as part of the Orion spacecraft in late autumn 2021. Five more modules are to be built in Bremen. The second ESM is supposed to bring astronauts from the USA and Canada back to the moon.
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NASA Deep Space Exploration Budget Request Fact Sheet

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

NASA FACT SHEET
FY 2022 Budget Request
Deep Space Exploration Systems
($ Millions)

The FY 2022 Budget for the Deep Space Exploration Systems account consists of two areas, Exploration Systems Development (ESD) and Exploration Research and Development (ERD), which provide for the development of systems and capabilities needed for the human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

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NASA Awards Laser Air Monitoring System and Spacecraft Avionics Contracts for Orion

An Orion spacecraft approaches the lunar Gateway. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded Dynetics Inc. of Huntsville, Alabama, a contract to produce a Laser Air Monitoring System (LAMS) for the agency’s Orion spacecraft beginning with the Artemis III mission.

NASA has also selected Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to provide development and operations support for the avionics software suite that will guide the agency’s next generation of human rated spacecraft on missions beyond low-Earth orbit.

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