ARTEMIS I; Foundation for Human Deep Space Exploration

ARTEMIS I; Foundation for Human Deep Space Exploration

All eyes will be on the historic Launch Complex 39B when the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket lift off for the first time as part of the Artemis I mission from NASA’s modernized Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch date Launch date: Aug. 29, 2022.

Artemis I, formerly Exploration Mission-1, will be the first integrated test of NASA’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Artemis I will be an uncrewed flight test that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration and to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond, a NAASA release said.


Launch site: Launch Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida

Launch date: Aug. 29, 2022

Mission Duration: 42 days, 3 hours, 20 minutes

Destination: distant retrograde orbit around the Moon

Total mission miles: approximately 1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometers)

Targeted splashdown site: Pacific Ocean, off the coast of San Diego

Return speed: Up to 25,000 mph (40,000 kph)

Splashdown: Oct. 10, 2022

Orion will launch atop the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown. Over the course of the mission, it will travel 280,000 miles (450,000 kilometers) from Earth and 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers) beyond the far side of the Moon. Orion will stay in space longer than any human spacecraft has without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before.

With Artemis I, NASA sets the stage for human exploration into deep space, where astronauts will build and begin testing the systems near the Moon needed for lunar surface missions and exploration to other destinations farther from Earth, including Mars. With Artemis, NASA will collaborate with industry and international partners to establish long-term exploration for the first time.


SLS and Orion will blast off from Launch Pad 39B at NASA’s modernized spaceport at Kennedy. Propelled by a pair of five-segment boosters and four RS-25 engines, the rocket will reach the period of greatest atmospheric force within 90 second


Small, low-cost science and technology experiments called CubeSats will deploy into deep space from the Orion stage adapter attached to the ICPS. These CubeSats are not much larger than a shoebox, weigh about 25 pounds (11 kilograms) each, and contain science and technology that may help pave the way for future human exploration in deep space. International space agency partners and universities are involved with several of the CubeSats.


Lunar IceCube – Morehead State University, Morehead, Kentucky
Searching for water in all forms and other volatiles with an infrared spectrometer

LunaH-Map – Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Creating higher-fidelity maps of near-surface hydrogen in craters and other permanently shadowed regions of the lunar South Pole with neutron spectrometers

LunIR – Lockheed Martin, Denver, Colorado
Performing advanced infrared imaging of the lunar surface

Developing the world’s smallest lunar lander and studying the lunar environment


CuSP – Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas
Measuring particles and magnetic fields as a space weather station

BioSentinel – Ames Research Center, Silicon Valley, California
Using single-celled yeast to detect, measure and compare the impact of deep-space radiation on living organisms over a long period of time

EQUULEUS – University of Tokyo/JAXA, Japan
Imaging the Earth’s plasmasphere for a better understanding of Earth’s radiation environment from Earth-Moon LaGrange 2 point


NEA Scout – Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama
Traveling by solar sail to a near-Earth asteroid and taking pictures and other characterizations of its surface

Technology Demonstrations

ArgoMoon – Italian Space Agency (ASI), ArgoTec, Italy
Observing the interim cryogenic propulsion stage with advanced optics and software imaging system

Team Miles – Tampa, Florida
Demonstrating propulsion using plasma thrusters and competing in NASA’s Deep Space Derby

Purposeful Passengers

Three “passengers” will fly aboard Orion to test the spacecraft’s systems and collect data to inform future missions with astronauts

Additional Radiation Sensors

In addition to the CubeSats aboard the SLS rocket and the manikins inside the spacecraft, Orion will carry several additional instruments and investigations to study the radiation environment of deep space that is present for missions to the Moon and beyond.

Radiation Area Monitor (RAM)
Radiation sensor technology aboard the spacecraft includes six Radiation Area Monitor (RAM) passive detectors about the size of a matchbox that will record the total radiation dose during the mission. As passive instruments, they require no source of power to collect radiation dose information and will be analyzed after the flight.

Hybrid Electronic Radiation Assessor (HERA)
Orion also will be equipped with a radiation detector named the Hybrid Electronic Radiation Assessor (HERA) that will measure charged particles that pass through its sensors. As an active instrument attached to the spacecraft, it will be connected to power and also can send its readings to Earth during the flight. On crewed missions, HERA will be part of the spacecraft’s Caution and Warning System and will sound a warning in the case of a solar energetic particle event, notifying the crew to take shelter. NASA is also testing a similar HERA unit aboard the International Space Station.

ESA Active Dosimeters
Created and provided by ESA, five devices each about the size of a deck of cards will be mounted inside the cabin and equipped with multiple sensors that cover a broad range of energies from ionizing radiation in space. Called ESA Active Dosimeters, the devices will record data on the radiation environment inside the spacecraft in real time with a timestamp to allow scientists to see radiation dose rates during various mission phases, as well as total mission dose. Scientists tested a similar ESA active dosimeter on the space station.

Biology Investigations
Artemis I will also carry four space biology investigations inside Orion. These investigations will look at the impact of the deep space radiation on the nutritional value of seeds, DNA repair of fungi, adaptation of yeast, and gene expression of algae during the journey around the Moon. The experiments will take place inside a container stored within Orion’s crew module for the duration of Artemis I and will be returned to researchers for post-flight analyses after the spacecraft splashes down. The goal of these investigations is to study the effects of the deep space environment, including space radiation, on biological systems, which could help to better protect humans from deep space radiation.


Callisto is a technology demonstration developed through a reimbursable space act agreement with Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin has partnered with Amazon, and Cisco to bring the Alexa digital assistant and Webex video collaboration aboard Orion’s first flight test in deep space.


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