NASA completed the Artemis 1 mission back in December, marking the first successful (uncrewed) test of its new SLS rocket and the Orion capsule. Now the space agency is pushing ahead with plans for a crewed moon mission.
NASA published an update on its website explaining that it’s still evaluating data from the Space Launch System — the giant rocket used for Artemis 1. The space agency said, “preliminary post-flight data indicates that all SLS systems performed exceptionally and that the designs are ready to support a crewed flight on Artemis II.” NASA’s Mashall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama collected more than 4 TB of data and images, and another 31 TB (roughly) of images were collected from cameras on and around the rocket.
From the data that NASA has already combed through, the SLS rocket seems to have worked well. The core stage inserted the Orion capsule into orbit around the Earth “well within acceptable parameters,” and the RS-25 engines (which date back to the Space Shuttle) had thrust and mixture ratios within 0.5% of predicted values. The internal pressure and temperature of the engines were also within 2% of expected values.
There’s still a lot of data to go through before the Artemis 2 flight, which is scheduled for May 2024 and is expected to carry four people around the moon. It’s looking more likely than ever that the mission will be a reality, though.
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