Edinburgh, 19 August 2022. – NASA has rolled out its Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft for the third time to the launch pad to launch the 42-day Artemis 1 mission by early next month.
The Agency has started prelaunch preparations, including checking connections, servicing the solid rocket boosters, and program-specific engineering tests. The launch is currently planned for 29th August, sending the Orion spacecraft into orbit around the Moon.
Artemis 1 will carry several payloads as well, one of them being the OMOTENASHI (Outstanding MOon exploration Technologies demonstrated by NAno Semi-Hard Impactor) lunar lander. The CubeSat was built by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency JAXA in cooperation with the University of Tokyo. OMOTENASHI will conduct a controlled landing on the lunar surface. The 6U CubeSat is designed to serve as a technical demonstration of the spacecraft’s landing abilities, maneuvers and communications systems.
Satellite manufacturer, Terran Orbital, will also have a payload aboard the SLS. LunIR (Lunar InfraRed imaging spacecraft), a 6U satellite will fly by the Moon and collect surface thermography and conduct deep-space operations technology demonstrations. LunIR is Terran Orbital’s second lunar satellite after CAPSTONE. It will feature a vision guidance system for locating pointing targets. The spacecraft is a joint effort between Lockheed Martin and Terran Orbital.