BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — NASA is targeting November of 2024 for its Artemis II mission, a crewed flight test around the moon.
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In preparation for that launch, teams are conducting a detailed analysis of the Artemis I mission, which ended nearly three months ago with the splashdown of the Orion Spacecraft after a successful 25-day mission around the moon.
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Now, NASA officials are sharing their findings from analysis of gigabytes of information from the Space Launch System and Orion.
“When I look ahead to Artemis II, our post-flight analysis continues to show SLS is ready to support crewed missions,” SLS Program Manager John Honeycutt said during a teleconference briefing with other NASA managers Tuesday.
LIVE NOW: Hear from NASA experts and dive into the findings of our successful #Artemis I mission, which flew the uncrewed @NASA_Orion spacecraft around the Moon and back to Earth. https://t.co/OiAGvg0wZC— NASA (@NASA) March 7, 2023
While the Artemis I mission was considered an overall success, there were still some issues that arose during the briefing.
Orion Program Manager Howard Hu said their spacecraft performed well too, but not exactly as expected.
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“So we had more liberation of the charred material during re-entry before we landed than we had expected,” Hu said.
There were also more variations across the heatshield than anticipated. Now, NASA is conducting an investigation that includes X-raying material from the heatshield.
“I don’t believe we reached any limits, from a margin perspective,” Hu added.
The agency will also be making repairs to the mobile launcher ahead of the Artemis II mission, planned for the end of next year.
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“We did sustain a bit more damage than anticipated to the ML, but we are on track making repairs, so it’ll be ready for Artemis II,” Exploration Ground Systems Program Manager Shawn Quinn said.
The NASA managers said their next moon landing will be approximately 12-months after Artemis II. However, some critical equipment has to be in place first, like a human landing system.
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