Jan 13, 2024

When will Artemis 2 launch and what will the mission do?

Posted by in category: space travel

After Artemis 2 launches and before the crew sets course for the Moon, the crew will spend a day or so carrying out systems checks in Earth orbit. During this stage, the crew will also test their ability to rendezvous with the SLS’s Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, which will serve as valuable practice for future docking maneuvers needed in later Artemis missions. The spacecraft’s orbit around Earth will be highly elliptical, ranging in altitude from about 115 miles (185 kilometers) to 46,000 miles (74,000 km) above Earth’s surface.

Once they receive approval to set course for the Moon, the four members of the Artemis 2 crew will embark on humanity’s first trip to the Moon’s neighborhood since 1972.

Artemis 2 will not land on or orbit the Moon, but will instead use several lunar-destination burns and course corrections to achieve a so-called free-return trajectory. This approach will bring the craft to within about 6,400 miles (10,000 km) of the Moon’s farside — and allow it to return to Earth even if the craft experiences an engine failure. The free-return trajectory will form a figure-eight around Earth and the Moon, and the Artemis 2 mission is expected to last about 10 days.

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