NASA has made public a document with a detailed description of the mission to the moon, which is being implemented from 2021 to 2024. The plan says that astronauts will set foot on the lunar surface as part of the Artemis III flight.
When tests of the Boeing SLS launch vehicle are completed successfully, it will be rerouted to Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The launch vehicle will be launched together with the Orion shuttle in 2021. This will be the Artemis I mission, the first ship without astronauts on board. Artemis II is scheduled to launch in 2023 with astronauts.
The mission of the two flights is to fly around the moon and test communication systems and human survival. The plans include an obligatory point according to which part of the Artemis II path will be implemented manually.
An example of manual control would be the undocking of the spacecraft from the stage from the propulsion system as soon as Orion enters the orbit of the blue planet. The implementation of human undocking will allow in the field to test the control of the ship, which, for obvious reasons, cannot be tested on Earth. Verification is vital to land astronauts on the moon.
Also, NASA announced plans to deliver robots to the Earth satellite from the age of 21. Their main tasks will be:
- Scientific research;
- Testing the latest technologies for the future development of the Earth satellite.
And in the near future, in 2024, two cosmonauts will be delivered to the surface of the Moon in the context of the Artemis III plan: a man and a woman. Landing will be carried out thanks to systems developed in three specialized companies. The founder of one is Elon Musk.
In 2023, the Gateway platform will appear in the orbit of the moon. The Artemis III mission plan includes a shuttle docking with astronauts and the Gateway next year. The future of Gateway is still vague, but one thing is clear – it will be the vanguard with incremental modules for successful lunar “sorties” from NASA. In addition, the gateway platform, as conceived by NASA, will allow to build up infrastructure on the lunar surface closer to 2030.
As for the realities, they are as follows. In September 2019, Lockheed Martin received the right to build Orion space shuttles, which are planned to deliver astronauts to Earth’s satellite.
The company assumed the responsibility to build 6 to 12 ships until the end of September 2030. The price of the first three space shuttles is $ 2.7 billion.
The next three ships will come out “cheaper” by $ 800 million. Their space agency plans to order after the full launch of flights to the moon in 2022.