The POT sees the Artemis I mission as the beginning of a great technical challenge and the starting point for an investigation of the moon with human presence that will mark future scientific development, Rey Díaz, supervisor of aerospace technology at the Kennedy Space Center, told EFE.
“It is a very important mission that will continue lunar exploration,” Díaz highlighted this Tuesday about Artemis I, which seeks to open the way for knowledge of the Earth’s satellite and is scheduled to take off early Wednesday morning, despite the latest setbacks caused by Hurricane Nicole’s passage through Florida.
“We want to establish a human presence on the moon, where the soil material will be used for scientific research”pointed out this Puerto Rican doctor in industrial engineering with a career at NASA since 1983 and who supports the Artemis I mission from the development of the agency’s programs.
Artemis I is an unmanned mission that is the first of the Artemis program, which aims to establish a human presence on the Moon as a previous step to reach Mars.
The objective of this mission, which is expected to begin early Wednesday morning, is to test the capabilities of the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion spacecraft before a manned trip.
THE RETURN TO THE MOON
“Artemis I means the first chance to return to the moon”, said the NASA technician about the mission, one more step in the goal of human exploration of the satellite through its south pole.
NASA has determined that the characteristics of that region can lead to important scientific discoveries to better understand the place of the earth in the universe.
Díaz said that the road has been long since the first manned mission of the US space program known as Apollo took its first steps more than half a century ago with the aim of a manned landing on the Moon.
“We worked little by little, highlighting the work of the Space Station”, He said about the long road of NASA, whose last mission in which its astronauts set foot on the Moon dates back to Apollo 17, which took place between December 7 and 19, 1972.
“The human presence on the Moon is very important at a scientific level”he maintained, after noting that the Artemis program wants to lay the foundations for a long-term lunar presence and serve as a springboard for sending astronauts to Mars.
NASA’s Artemis I flight test will deploy two satellites to advance the search for lunar resources and a water detection vehicle.
Artemis crews will conduct geological investigations on the ground and collect samples to understand planetary processes and volatiles, which are solid-state elements or chemical compounds that melt or vaporize at moderately warm temperatures.
TWO OTHER MISSIONS ON THE HORIZON
The mission that will leave on Wednesday will be followed, in 2024, by the first manned mission, Artemis II, which will make the same journey, and it is expected that with Artemis III, foreseeably in 2025, landfall will be made on the earth’s satellite with the first woman and colored man to travel to the Moon.
“But we must also highlight the contribution of Latinos to NASA, which is made by members of this substantial and important community,” clarified.
Rey made it clear that Artemis I is a test for future missions and that, therefore, they fall within the logical setbacks.
However, he insisted on his certainty that after the start of the two-hour window for the launch attempt at 1:04 a.m. (5:04 GMT) on Wednesday, the mission will take its first steps into space.
The attention is maximum for the early hours of Wednesday, since NASA has had to delay the departure of the mission four times, twice for meteorological reasons, the case last week due to the passage through Florida of Hurricane Nicole, but also in two other times for technical reasons.
“The most critical moment will occur tomorrow, around 3:00 p.m. local time -20:00 GMT-, at which time the space launch system -SLS- tanks will be filled with hydrogen and liquid oxygen”pointed out the NASA technician.
The cause of the two technical delays were hydrogen leaks from the launcher, while the latest information released by NASA points to problems in the sealing of the system to abort a launch.
Rey, given the doubts raised and the efficiency shown by the SpaceX company, owned by Elon Musk, in its operations for NASA to resupply the International Space Station (ISS), qualified that the NASA Artemis I mission is, without a doubt, one of the most complicated in space history at a technical level.