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Getting ready for a return to the Moon

The Artemis I mission with the Orion capsule is set to launch on 29 August 2022 with a test flight that prepares humankind for our next adventure at the Moon. Europe is playing a crucial role providing the European Service Module for the Orion capsule.

The Artemis I mission is without astronauts and will be launched by the Space Launch System from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA. There is a launch window of 2 hours on 29 August and back up dates on 2 and 5 September if the launch cannot take place on 29 August.

The spacecraft will enter a low-Earth orbit before the rocket’s upper stage fires to take it into a translunar orbit. The second Artemis mission will have a similar flight plan but with four astronauts.

The total launch mass of European Service Module is 13 500 kg for the lunar missions (Orion will weigh over 20 tonnes in total). Through the ESA membership and programmes Denmark with its European partners is providing a number of test systems for the European Service Module. Lately Rovsing A/S delivered two Power Front-End test systems to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center at the beginning of June 2022.

The duration of the mission depends on the launch date and even time, and will last from 20 to 40 days depending on how many orbits of the Moon mission designers will have the European Service Module guide Orion on its journey. The variation in mission length is because the mission must end with a splashdown during daylight hours in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of California, USA. The European Service Module separates and burns up harmlessly in the atmosphere shortly before the Orion crew module splashes down.

The European Space Agency is also providing ten CubeSats that will help prepare for the return of astronauts to our lunar companion. ESA’s deep space antennas, along with the Goonhilly Earth Station in the UK, will be tracking six of the small satellites, ensuring they arrive where they need to be, and their data gets back home.

Watch the replay of this virtual Q&A to learn more about Europe's contribution to the mission: ESA is overseeing the development of the European Service Module, that provides air, electricity and propulsion to the spacecraft. Participants to this media briefing include Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director General ; David Parker, ESA Director for Human and Robotic Exploration ; Jean-Marc Nasr, Airbus EVP Space Systems and Marc Steckling, Airbus Head of Space Exploration




Cecilie Tornøe
Tlf.: +45 72 31 82 84
Email: ct@ufm.dk

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Senest opdateret 28. november 2022