Regreso de la humanidad a la Luna: NASA terminó ensamblaje del cohete de la misión Artemis / NASA Fully Stacked for Moon Mission, Readies for Artemis I

La agencia espacial estadounidense informó que terminó el ensamblaje de la nave en el cohete SLS para proseguir con la última etapa del próximo lanzamiento al satélite natural

La NASA informó este 22 de octubre que el próximo febrero intentará enviar su misión no tripulada Artemis I a la Luna, con la cual se formalizará la primera etapa de Estados Unidos para llevar a personas hasta el cuerpo celeste.

“La misión, conocida como Artemis I, allanará el camino para una futura prueba de vuelo con la tripulación antes de que la NASA establezca una cadencia regular de misiones más complejas con astronautas en y alrededor de la Luna bajo Artemisa”, informó la agencia especial en un comunicado.

Esta misión crucial, que marcará el inicio del programa Artemis, estaba prevista inicialmente para finales de año, y la NASA esperaba poder realizarla con astronautas abordo en 2024, en Artemis III. Sin embargo, el calendario se retrasó.

Fue hasta este viernes que dijo estar lista para febrero del 2022, tras asegurar la nave espacial Orion sobre el cohete Space Launch System (SLS, Sistema de Lanzamiento Espacial) y que el sistema integrado esté entrando en la fase final de preparativos.

“Es difícil expresar con palabras lo que significa este hito, no solo para nosotros aquí en Exploration Ground Systems, sino para todas las personas increíblemente talentosas que han trabajado tan duro para ayudarnos a llegar a este punto”, dijo Mike Bolger, director del programa Exploration Ground Systems.

“Nuestro equipo ha demostrado una tremenda dedicación preparándose para el lanzamiento de Artemis I. Si bien todavía queda trabajo por hacer para llegar al lanzamiento, con pruebas integradas continuas y el ensayo general. Ver el SLS completamente apilado es sin duda una recompensa para todos nosotros”, añadió.

Después de las pruebas el megacohete que mide más de 98 metros de altura y se encuentra dentro del Edificio de Ensamblaje de Vehículos en el Centro Espacial Kennedy de la NASA, en Florida, será trasladado a la plataforma de lanzamiento para un test final en enero.

“Cada una de las campañas de prueba evaluará el cohete y la nave espacial como un sistema integrado por primera vez, basándose entre sí y culminando en una simulación en la plataforma para prepararse para el día del lanzamiento”, dijo la NASA.

Mike Sarafin, jefe de la misión Artemis I, aseguró que el periodo de lanzamiento comienza el 12 de febrero y la última oportunidad de hacerlo será el 27 de febrero. Las próximas ventanas serán en marzo y abril. Estos posibles períodos de lanzamiento dependen de la mecánica orbital y de la posición relativa de la Tierra respecto a su satélite natural.

También desplegará una serie de pequeños satélites, conocidos como CubeSats, para realizar experimentos y demostraciones de tecnología.

La NASA dice que entre los astronautas que irán a la Luna estarán la primera mujer y la primera persona de color en hacer ese viaje.

NASA Fully Stacked for Moon Mission, Readies for Artemis I

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.

“It’s hard to put into words what this milestone means, not only to us here at Exploration Ground Systems, but to all the incredibly talented people who have worked so hard to help us get to this point,” said Mike Bolger, Exploration Ground Systems program manager. “Our team has demonstrated tremendous dedication preparing for the launch of Artemis I. While there is still work to be done to get to launch, with continued integrated tests and Wet Dress Rehearsal, seeing the fully stacked SLS is certainly a reward for all of us.”

Each of the test campaigns will evaluate the rocket and spacecraft as an integrated system for the first time, building upon each other and culminating in a simulation at the pad to prepare for launch day.

Interface Verification Testing – verifies the functionality and interoperability of interfaces across the elements and systems. Teams will conduct this test from the firing room in the Launch Control Center and will start by powering up Orion to charge the batteries and perform health and status checks of various systems. Next, the teams will do the same to check interfaces between the core stage and boosters and the ground systems, and ensure functionality of different systems, including core stage engines and booster thrust control, as well as the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS). A final integrated test, with all wire harnesses installed throughout the rocket and spacecraft, will verify their ability to talk to each other and to ground systems.

Program Specific Engineering Testing- ensures functionality of a variety of different systems. Following the interface verification test for the core stage and boosters, additional testing will perform several checks in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) for the core stage and booster systems, such as a booster thrust control test. Later, engineers will conduct an additional engineering test during the visit to pad 39B for wet dress rehearsal.

End-to-End Communications Testing – integrated test of radio frequencies from mission control to SLS, ICPS, and Orion – all to demonstrate our ability to communicate with the ground. This test uses a radio frequency antenna in the VAB, another near the pad that will cover the first few seconds of launch, as well as a more powerful antenna that uses the Tracking Data Relay Satellite and the Deep Space Network.

Countdown Sequencing Testing – conducts a simulated launch countdown inside the VAB to demonstrate the ground launch software and ground launch sequencer, which checks for health and status of the vehicle sitting on the pad. The teams will configure the rocket in the VAB for launch and run the sequencer to a predefined point in the countdown – testing the responses from the rocket and spacecraft and ensuring the sequencer can run without any issues. On launch day, the ground launch sequencer hands off to the rocket and spacecraft and an automated launch sequencer takes over around 30 seconds before launch.

Wet Dress Rehearsal Testing – demonstrates the ability to load cryogenic, or supercold, propellants, including detanking the propellants with the Artemis I rocket at the launch pad on the mobile launcher. Several weeks before the actual launch, Artemis I will roll the roughly four miles to Pad 39B atop the crawler-transporter. There it will undergo checkouts at the pad, and teams will practice the launch countdown and then recycle back to T-10 minutes to demonstrate the ability to scrub a launch and de-tank.

Prior to rolling out to the pad for wet dress, teams will conduct the first of a two-part test of the flight termination system inside the VAB. Once the systems are verified, the 322-foot-tall rocket will roll back into the VAB for final inspections and checkouts, including the second part of the flight termination system test, ahead of returning to the pad for launch.

Leading up to launch, Artemis I mission operations teams also will continue additional launch simulations to run the team through its paces, ensuring they are ready for any scenario with this new vehicle come launch day.

Wet Dress Rehearsal Testing – demonstrates the ability to load cryogenic, or supercold, propellants, including detanking the propellants with the Artemis I rocket at the launch pad on the mobile launcher. Several weeks before the actual launch, Artemis I will roll the roughly four miles to Pad 39B atop the crawler-transporter. There it will undergo checkouts at the pad, and teams will practice the launch countdown and then recycle back to T-10 minutes to demonstrate the ability to scrub a launch and de-tank.

Prior to rolling out to the pad for wet dress, teams will conduct the first of a two-part test of the flight termination system inside the VAB. Once the systems are verified, the 322-foot-tall rocket will roll back into the VAB for final inspections and checkouts, including the second part of the flight termination system test, ahead of returning to the pad for launch.

Leading up to launch, Artemis I mission operations teams also will continue additional launch simulations to run the team through its paces, ensuring they are ready for any scenario with this new vehicle come launch day.

The agency will set a specific date for the launch following a successful wet dress rehearsal. The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond prior to the first flight with crew on Artemis II.

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2021
Editor: Kathryn Hambleton