CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – Technicians working at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans have completed the assembly of the major core stage structures for the mammoth Space Launch System (SLS) mega Moon rocket that will launch on the agencies next Project Artemis mission – namely Artemis II – that will propel a crew of four astronauts beyond Earth orbit and back to our Moon for the first time in more than 50 years!
The last time humans ventured beyond Earth was during NASA’s Apollo 17 moon landing mission in December 1972 – while was the culmination of Project Apollo.
Meanwhile NASA announced that they will name the crew of four during a ceremony on April 3 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas
The quartet of astronauts will comprise 3 NASA astronauts and 1 Canadian astronaut from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) – as reaffirmed by US President Biden during his recent visit to Canada and during a speech to the Canadian Parliament earlier in March.
“In his remarks to the Canadian Parliament, President Biden highlighted NASA & @csa_asc ‘s #Artemis II crew announcement on April 3,” tweeted Bill Nelson.
“As @POTUS said, “Together, we’ll return to the moon. And from there, we look forward to Mars and to the limitless possibilities that lie beyond.”
— Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) March 24, 2023
“NASA and CSA (Canadian Space Agency) will announce during an event at 11 a.m. EDT on Monday, April 3, from NASA Johnson Space Center’s Ellington Field in Houston, the four astronauts who will venture around the Moon on Artemis I,” NASA said.
“Traveling aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft and launching on the Space Launch System rocket, the mission is the first crewed flight test on the agency’s path to establishing a long-term scientific and human presence on the lunar surface.”
The event will air on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.
Watch this NASA preview video for the Artemis II Crew Announcement:
Video Caption: Don’t miss it! NASA and CSA (Canadian Space Agency) will announce during an event at 11 a.m. EDT on Monday, April 3, from NASA Johnson Space Center’s Ellington Field in Houston, the four astronauts who will venture around the Moon. Traveling aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft during Artemis II, the mission is the first crewed flight test on the agency’s path to establishing a long-term scientific and human presence on the lunar surface. Credit: NASA
Artemis II is expected to last about 10 days during a mission around the Moon but will not orbit.
The crew will launch on the next integrated SLS rocket & Orion spacecraft stack from Launch Complex 39B from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida
Thus all the elements are coming together for the crewed Artemis II mission which is currently targeted for liftoff late next year in November 2024.
Orion Artemis II is eing assembled at the Kennedy Space Center.
The SLS mega Moon rocket core stage is comprised of 5 major structures
“Teams at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans have fully integrated all five major structures of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s core stage for Artemis II, the first crewed Artemis mission that will send four astronauts around the Moon and return them home’ NASA confirms.
The integration work was completed on March 17 after technicians joined the engine section to the rest of the rocket stage at the bottom.
The next step is for the teams to integrate the four RS-25 engines to the engine section to complete the stage.
“Located at the bottom of the 212-foot-tall core stage, the engine section is the most complex and intricate part of the rocket stage, helping to power Artemis missions to the Moon. In addition to its miles of cabling and hundreds of sensors, the engine section is a crucial attachment point for the RS-25 engines and two solid rocket boosters that produce a combined 8.8 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. It houses the engines and includes vital systems for mounting, controlling, and delivering fuel from the propellant tanks to the engines.”
The core stage for Artemis II is built, outfitted, and assembled at Michoud. Through Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the surface of the Moon, paving the way for a long-term lunar presence and serving as a steppingstone for astronauts on the way to Mars.
NASA successfully launched the uncrewed Artemis 1 test flight on a 25.5 day mission around the Moon and back on Nov. 16
Water reflecting view of nature and space as NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket carrying the Orion spacecraft launches on the Artemis I lunar flight test, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, at 1:47 a.m. ET from Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center as bird observes from the Turn Basin. Artemis 1 is first integrated flight test of Orion and SLS rocket around the Moon and back. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com
NASA’s uncrewed Orion spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, west of Baja California, at 12:40 a.m. EST (1740 GMT) Sunday, Dec. 11 after a record-breaking mission, traveling more than 1.4 million miles on a path around the Moon and returning safely to Earth, completing a nearly flawless shakedown cruise on the Artemis 1 flight test that now paves the path to returning humans to deep space soon.
“This is what mission success looks like, folks,” said Mike Sarafin, NASA’s Artemis 1 mission manager, at the post splashdown media briefing. “This was a challenging mission.”
Artemis 1 was nearly flawless in every respect and exceeded expectations- accomplishing all 124 primary test objectives as well as some 20 additional bonus objectives added in flight since everything proceeded so well.
During the mission, Orion performed two lunar flybys, coming within 80 miles of the lunar surface. At its farthest distance during the mission, Orion traveled nearly 270,000 miles from our home planet, more than 1,000 times farther than where the International Space Station orbits Earth, to intentionally stress systems before flying crew.
Artemis 1 paved the way for America’s return to the Moon with astronauts on the next flight on Artemis 2 set for launch in 2024 and eventually the next lunar landing on Artemis 3 around mid-decade and no earlier than late 2025.
On Artemis 3 NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the surface of the Moon, paving the way for a long-term lunar presence and serving as a steppingstone for astronauts on the way to Mars.
Watch Ken’s commentary about NASA. Project Artemis SLS and Orion, SpaceX Falcon Heavy, Crew-5 & 6, NASA SpaceX Crew & Cargo Dragons and more
Mar 29/30; WFTV ABC News Orlando interview comments about delayed launch date to NET July 21 for 1st Boeing Starliner capsule crew flight test #CFT launch to ISS for NASA
Mar 22/23: Fox 35 News Orlando post launch interview about historic Terran 1 launch on Mar 22:
Mar 22: Fox 35 live interview about next Terran 1 launch attempt on Mar 22:
Mar 21: WFTV ABC News Orlando interview about next Terran 1 launch attempt on Mar 22
Mar 17: Fox 35 News Orlando update about next Terran 1 launch attempt:
Mar 16/17: WKMG CBS 6 Orlando News interview about Virgin Orbit pausing operations today and why this is not a good sign as they seek to enter the small satellite market with many competitors like Relativity Space Terran1 rocket trying 1st launch – as well as established competitors like SpaceX & RocketLab.
Mar 8/9: WFTV ABC News and Fox 35 New Orlando pre and post scrub interview about maiden Terran 1 launch attempt:
Mar 7: WFTV ABC News Orlando interview about upcoming maiden Terran1 launch by Relativity Space on Mar 8
Mar 6/7: WFTV ABC News Orlando interview about upcoming maiden #Terran1 launch by Relativity Space on Mar 8 from pad 16 CCSFS. Worlds 1st 3D printed rocket:
Mar 2: Fox 35 Orlando live interview about the Crew-6 mission launch to the ISS
Feb 26/27/28: On 3 local Networks CBS WKMG , ABC WFTV and Fox 35 Orlando -I did series of live and taped interviews pre and post scrub explaining why NASA SpaceX Crew6 astronaut launch to ISS was scrubbed at T Minus 2 minutes to keep the crew and rocket safe and what needs to be done to resolve the issue why TEA-TEB (triethylaluminum triethylboron) igniter fluid failed to fully load on Falcon 9 rocket
Feb 9/10: WFTV ABC News Orlando interview about SpaceX Starship successful static fire test of 31 Raptor engines at Boca Chica
Feb 8/9: WFTV ABC News Orlando interview about how NASA needs a definitive and fully funded plan to deorbit the ISS safely in case of an emergency and serious debris hit causing it to lose control b4 it’s terminated in 2030- in light of the recent Soyuz crew capsule leak from micrometeoroid impact
Jan 3/4: WFTV ABC News Orlando interview about Jan 3 SpaceX Transporter 6 launch – 1st of 2023 – and record setting year ahead with many exciting missions for NASA and private astronauts, science probes, mission, US Space Force, new rockets like ULA Vulcan & more!
Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Artemis, SpaceX missions, SLS, Orion and NASA missions, SpaceX Crew and Cargo Dragons, SpaceX Axiom, JWST, DART, Lucy Asteroid mission, GOES, SpaceX Starlink, Commercial Crew and Starliner and Crew Dragon, Blue Origin and Space Tourism, and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5, ISS, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, NRO spysats and national security missions and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com
Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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Upcoming and recent space events and talks by Ken Kremer & Jean Wright
Apr 15 8 PM: Yuri’s Night . Ken is invited as a Space Ambassador for the event held at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Apr 6; Mar 1, 2, 12,13, 22, 23; Feb 4, 11, 24, 25, 26; Jan 7,11- 2023; from 7 to 9 PM Quality Inn, Titusville, FL: Join Ken and Jean for Artemis 1, Falcon Heavy and space mission and rocket launch outreach. Ask us anything. plus display our photos and space apparel items for sale
Apr 29-May 6 & Jan 21-28: Carnival Cruise Ship Mardi Gras: “What Happening at NASA and Space Exploration” & SpaceX Falcon 9 Starlink 5-2 launch viewing party Jan 26
Jan 12, 2023: 10 AM at Westminster Retirement Center in Orlando/Winter Park, Florida: Presentation by Jean Wright – “Sew Sister to the Stars- How the Humble Art of Sewing Transformed the World of Flight”+ Artemis 1 Moon rocket update
Nov 29 at UCF, Orlando Florida: Presentation by Jean Wright – “Sew Sister to the Stars- How the Humble Art of Sewing Transformed the World of Flight”