For the first time in 51 years, NASA is training astronauts to fly to the Moon

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Grow up / Astronauts Victor Glover, Christina Koch, Reid Wiseman, and Jeremy Hansen are joined by an instructor (back) on the first day of training for the Artemis II crew.

Four astronauts sent to fly to the far side of the Moon on NASA’s Artemis II mission settled into their seats in a comfortable classroom last month at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. It was one of the most famous moments for the four-person team since NASA revealed the names of the astronauts who have been the first people to orbit the Moon since 1972.

There was excitement at the unveiling of the staff to the public in April and it appears again The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. There will be, great anticipation as the astronauts approach their launch date, which is expected in late 2024 or 2025.

But most of the crew’s days over the next 18 months will be spent in classrooms, on airplanes, or in practice games, with instructors providing the information they deem most important to the success of the Artemis II mission. In the simulator, the training team will throw errors and mistakes at the astronauts to test their ability to solve the failure that – if it happened in space – could limit the mission or, in the worst case, kill them.

“In order to do this, what kind of information should we give them?” What skills do we have to teach them? said Jacki Mahaffey, NASA’s executive director of the Artemis II mission. “Overall, our goal is that we have a little in the classroom, but the way we can create employees in front of the car shows and be like immersed in those places, quickly, is better.

Commander Reid Wiseman and his crew—pilot Victor Glover, mission specialist Christina Koch, and Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen—were assigned to the Artemis II mission on April 3. Their most recent two-month mission is the next half was over. making public tours, giving interviews, going to NASA sites around the country, going to Capitol Hill, and meeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Mahaffey said that he also received a training lecture from Charlie Duke, who walked on the Moon during the Apollo 16 mission in April 1972. NASA has not trained a crew to fly to the Moon since Apollo 17 in late 1972. The last time an astronaut walked on the surface of the moon.

Duke, now 87, told Ars he was excited to meet the Artemis II crew and other members of NASA’s astronaut corps.

“It’s been a while, but guys, they’re working hard,” Duke said. “They have a great journey ahead of them. So I wish them the best, their cars and education and everything. “

Lessons of the Month

The Artemis II crew marked their first day of training on June 21. Like the start of many college courses, it began with a preview of the syllabus. Later, in the afternoon, the astronomers received a lecture on the lunar orbit system, according to Mahaffey.

Most of the staff training in June and July has focused on the “essentials” to provide astronauts with information about the flight plan of the mission, the Orion spacecraft, and the Space Launch System rocket that will help them move around. “It’s a very high-level overview of what all of these things are, getting to know and look at how everything looks, the basics of communication and displays and some of the other aspects of the airplane,” Mahaffey said. .

The Artemis II mission will last about 10 days, beginning with a launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida that will place its Orion capsule in a nearly day-long orbit around Earth to rigorously investigate the spacecraft’s life support system and test the spacecraft’s ability to approach an object. something in the air. The life support system was not part of the Artemis I unmanned SLS Moon rocket test flight with the Orion spacecraft last year, and future Artemis missions will depend on Orion returning with a lunar lander in deep space.

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