Trio of Orion spacecraft for NASA’s lunar missions

NASA/Lockheed Martin

NASA has shared a photo of the three spacecraft that will play a major role in the next three missions of Artemis to the moon.

To live with the past successfully tested the Orion spacecraft on a lunar flight at the end of last year after that blown up in the air and NASA’s new Space Launch System rocket, the American space agency is now overseeing the construction of three more Orion capsules to use for Artemis.

In this photo (above), Orion’s Artemis II spacecraft is seen on the right, inside the tall bay of the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Artemis III is on the left, with Artemis IV in the center.

Orion manufacturer Lockheed Martin posted the same photo with the comment: “The future of @NASA_Orion looks very bright.”

Each Orion capsule is in a different stage of production as technicians and engineers prepare the spacecraft to carry astronauts to the moon on upcoming missions, NASA said.

Engineers recently installed a heat shield on the Artemis II crew compartment, and teams plan to perform acoustic tests in the next few months. When you are ready, the staff unit will be connected to the service unit in preparation for the month’s work.

Artemis II right now expected in November 2024 and will carry NASA astronauts Christina Koch, Victor Glover, and Reid Wiseman, as well as Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen. Astronauts do not land on the moon but instead fly, coming within a short distance of the moon before returning home.

A successful mission will pave the way for Artemis III, which will attempt to put the first woman and the first human on the moon. In this mission, Orion will carry astronauts to the lunar orbit where they will be transferred to a modified version of SpaceX’s Starship lander. While it is planned for 2025, its continuation to that date depends on the progress of SpaceX in testing its Super Heavy vehicle and Starship.

Artemis IV, meanwhile, is scheduled for 2028 and will once again put astronauts on the surface of the moon.

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