Expect the Artemis I spacecraft test mission later in 2021.
Lockheed Martin’s Orion spacecraft is a tangible step closer to getting people back to the moon. has transferred it to NASA prior to the Artemis I test mission later in 2021. At this point, it’s just a matter of final prep work that includes loading thrusters, integrating the launch abort system, and mounting the spacecraft over the SLS rocket. It is an unmanned mission.
Orion will orbit the Moon to help verify both its own systems and those of the SLS and ground equipment ahead of Artemis II, the first mission with astronauts on board. It is not until Artemis III that people will return to the lunar surface.
While this is an important moment, it arises as questions arise about the future of the Artemis program.
The latest Congressional budget no longer hits the bottom line necessary for a lunar landing in 2024, and the incoming Biden administration will likely not prioritize Artemis when the pandemic response and economic recovery will take center stage.
Artemis I is likely to advance, but don’t be surprised if Orion doesn’t. ‘After that, he’ll be very useful for a while.
Engadget / TechConflict.Com
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