Next Monday (29), NASA will launch the Artemis I mission, starting the ambitious project of returning to the Moon and placing the first permanent base on another celestial body. 

Even if unmanned, Artemis I is essential to the program, as it will be used to test essential technologies for future missions, such as the Orion spacecraft and the SLS rocket. 

Among the technologies that will be in the Orion capsule, which will enter orbit next week, are test dummies, historical and educational items and an Alexa, from Amazon. 

Artemis 1 Mission 

The Artemis I mission will test technologies needed for future Artemis Program missions, such as the SLS rocket and Onion spacecraft, which will enable manned travel. 

The initial mission will be circumlunar, that is, a flight around the moon, with long duration. The on-board dummies will simulate the behavior of a real crew member, from measurements of cosmic radiation effects. In addition, the ship’s communication and life support systems will also be tested. 

The mission will also serve to test Orion’s recovery procedures, as well as the operation of the spacecraft’s heat shield, demonstrating whether it will be able to withstand the intense heat of the moment of re-entry into the atmosphere. 

In the future, the US space agency wants to establish a permanent base on the Moon, which will be inhabited by a team of astronauts. The base could be useful both for research on the extraction of lunar resources, as well as serving as a bridge for missions to other destinations in the solar system. 

The lift-off 

The Artemis mission will launch from platform 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The platform was built in the 1960s for the launch of the Saturn V rockets in the Apollo program.

The first release date is August 29, 2022, in a two-hour window that starts at 10:33 am PT. In the event of an unforeseen event, there are two “reservation” dates. 

The launch of Artemis I will be broadcast on NASA’s YouTube channel, starting at 7:30 am, Brasília time. The broadcast will cover preparations, rocket fueling, launch and separation of the spacecraft on its way to the Moon. 

NASA hopes to broadcast the first scenes of Earth seen by Orion during its journey to the Moon, starting at 6:30 pm. 

Mannequins in space 

The Artemis mission will be unmanned, but will carry adapted dummies on board to collect data on the behavior of humans in space conditions. 

The commander’s seat – which will be occupied by the dummy named Moonikin Campos – has sensors installed behind the seat and headrest to identify acceleration and vibration throughout the mission, which is expected to last 42 days. 

The dummy will wear the special Orion Crew Survival System suit, equipped with radiation sensors and made for astronauts to wear on launch and re-entry into the atmosphere. 

Two other mannequins, named Helga and Zohar, will also be in Orion. They are mannequin torsos made with materials that mimic organs, bones and soft tissue, and are equipped with more than 5,600 sensors and 34 radiation detectors. 

The mannequins are a collaboration between the German Aerospace Center, the Israel Space Agency, NASA and other international institutions. They are part of the Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment. 

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