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Artemis 1[7] (originally known as Exploration Mission-1 or EM-1 until the introduction of the Artemis program in 2019, when it was renamed) is the second planned flight of the uncrewed Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle to be launched on the first flight of the Space Launch System. The launch is planned from Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center at an unspecified date after June 2020.[2] The Orion spacecraft will spend approximately 3 weeks in space, including 6 days in a retrograde orbit around the Moon.[8] It is planned to be followed by Artemis 2, originally known as Exploration Mission-2 or EM-2, in 2023.

Artemis 1
NamesSpace Launch System-1 (SLS-1)
Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1)
Mission typeLunar orbital test flight
Mission durationPlanned: 25.5 days
Distance travelledPlanned: 1.3 million mi (2.1 million km)[1]
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeOrion MPCV
ManufacturerLockheed Martin / Airbus
Start of mission
Launch dateTBD,[2]
potentially late 2021[3]
RocketSLS Block 1[4]
Launch siteKennedy LC-39B[5]
End of mission
Landing sitePacific Ocean[6]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemSelenocentric
Period6 days
Moon orbiter
Orbital insertionTBD
Exploration Mission-1 patch.png
← AA-2


Mission overviewEdit

Animation of Artemis 1

The Block 1 version of SLS used on this mission will consist of two five-segment Solid Rocket Boosters, four RS-25D engines built for the Space Shuttle program and an Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage.[9] Artemis 1 is intended to demonstrate the integrated spacecraft systems prior to a crewed flight, and in addition, test a high speed reentry (11 km/s or 6.8 mi/s) on Orion's thermal protection system.[9]

On 16 January 2013, NASA announced that the European Space Agency will build the Orion Service Module based on its Automated Transfer Vehicle, so the flight could also be regarded as a test of ESA hardware as well as American, and of how the ESA components interact with the American Orion components.[10]

The Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) flight article was consciously constructed in a way that if all the missing components (seats, life support systems) were added, it would not meet the mass target. It was planned that subsequent capsules would be modified to be lighter, based on manufacturing experience.

In January 2015 NASA and Lockheed announced that some components in the EM-1 capsule, as it was then known, would be up to 25 percent lighter compared to the previous one. This would be achieved by changes to the primary structure - the EM-1 article would be welded together from 3 panels for the cone, as opposed to 6 panels used for the EFT-1 article. The total number of welds was reduced from 19 to 7,[11] thus saving the additional mass of the weld material. Other savings would be due to revisiting its various components and wiring. For EM-1 the capsule will be outfitted with complete life support system and crew seats, but will be left uncrewed.[12] However, in February 2017 NASA announced that Robert M. Lightfoot Jr., the agency's Acting Administrator, had asked the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to study the feasibility of redesigning the mission to include a crew.[13]

Crewed versionEdit

The mission will be uncrewed, however NASA did initiate a study to investigate a crewed version of the mission. A crewed version of EM-1 would be composed of a crew of two astronauts, and would be much shorter than the uncrewed version due to safety reasons. The study investigated a crewed mission even with the possibility of further delays to the launch.[14] On 12 May 2017 NASA revealed that it will not be sending astronauts to space for Orion's EM-1 mission following a months-long feasibility study.[15]

Commercial rocketsEdit

On March 13, 2019, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine testified in front of a Senate hearing that NASA is considering moving the Orion spacecraft that was to fly on the first Space Launch System mission to commercial rockets to keep that mission on schedule for mid-2020. Bridenstine stated that the "SLS is struggling to meet its schedule," and that "We're now understanding better how difficult this project is and that it is going to take some additional time." Bridenstine propped that NASA is considering launching the Orion spacecraft being built for Artemis 1 on commercial vehicles such as a Falcon Heavy or Delta IV Heavy. The mission would require two launches: one to place the Orion into orbit around the Earth, and a second carrying an upper stage. The two would then dock and the upper stage would ignite to send Orion to the Moon. One challenge with this option would be carrying out that docking as NASA does not have, right now, an ability to dock the Orion crew capsule with anything in orbit so between now and June of 2020, NASA would have to make that a reality.[16] This idea was abandoned due to a study concluding that it would delay the mission further.[17]


Planned trajectory for Artemis 1

Originally the mission was planned to follow a circumlunar trajectory without entering orbit around the Moon.[5][9] The Orion spacecraft will spend approximately 3 weeks in space, including 6 days in a retrograde orbit around the Moon.[8]


Mission Elapsed Time Event Location
00:00:00 Launch Kennedy Space Center
00:02:00 Solid Rocket Boosters separation Altitude 28 mi or 45 km
00:03:40 Service Module Panels and Launch Abort System Jettisoned Altitude 57 mi or 92 km
00:08:14 Main Engine Cutoff and 1st Stage Separation Altitude 98 mi or 158 km
00:16:14 Solar Panels Deployed Altitude 301 mi or 484 km
00:54:05 Perigee Raise Maneuver (ICPS) Altitude 1,113 mi or 1,791 km
01:25:00 Trans-Lunar Injection (ICPS) Altitude 373 mi or 600 km
01:53:00 ICPS Stage Separation Altitude 2,392 mi or 3,850 km
Days 1-4 Outbound Coasting Phase Distance from Earth: 2,391–245,131 mi or 3,848–394,500 km
Periodic Trajectory Correction Maneuvers
4 days 7 h 18 m Lunar Gravity Assist Distance from Earth: 249,569 mi or 401,642 km
Distance to Moon: 62 mi or 100 km
Days 7-13 Distant Retrograde Orbit Distance from Earth: 216,815–271,739 mi or 348,930–437,322 km
20 days Return Powered Flyby Distance from Earth: 222,798 mi or 358,559 km
Days 21-25 Inbound Coasting Phase Distance from Earth: 226,678–41,959 mi or 364,803–67,526 km
Periodic Trajectory Correction Maneuvers
25 days 11 h 30 m Crew and Service Module Separation Altitude 53,194 mi or 85,607 km
25 days 11 h 34 m Reentry Altitude 62 mi or 100 km
Vehicle Speed: 24,500 mph or 39,400 km/h
Reentry Altitude 50 mi or 80 km
Vehicle Temperature: 5,000 °F or 2,760 °C
25 days 12 h Parachute Deployment Sequence Altitude 24,000 ft or 7,300 m
25 days 12 h Crew Module Splashdown Location: Pacific Ocean

Orion payloadsEdit

NASA has partnered with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) in conjunction with StemRad and Lockheed Martin to perform the Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE), which will measure tissue dose deposition and test the effectiveness of the AstroRad radiation vest in a radiation environment beyond low Earth orbit. While radiation shielding strategies of the past have relied on storm shelters in which astronauts can seek refuge as solar storms erupt, the AstroRad's ergonomic design provides a mobile protection system with a similar shielding factor as storm shelters without hindering the astronauts’ ability to perform mission sensitive tasks.[18]

The crew compartment of the uncrewed Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft will include two female anthropomorphic phantoms which will be exposed to the intense radiation environment along the lunar orbit, including solar storms and galactic cosmic rays. One phantom will be shielded with the AstroRad and the other will be left unprotected. The phantoms provide the opportunity to precisely measure radiation exposure not only at the surface of the body but also at the exact location of sensitive organs and tissues inside the human body. Radiation exposure will be measured with the implementation of both passive and active dosimeters intentionally distributed throughout the inside of the anthropomorphic phantoms at precise locations of sensitive tissues and high stem cell concentrations.[19][20] The results of MARE should enable Orion as a platform for other scientific experiments, provide accurate radiation risk projections of deep space exploration, and validate the protective properties of the AstroRad.

Secondary payloadsEdit

MPCV Stage Adapter for 13 CubeSat spring-loaded dispensers

Thirteen low-cost CubeSat missions were competitively selected as secondary payloads on the Artemis 1 test flight.[21] They will reside within the second stage on the launch vehicle from which they will be deployed. Two CubeSats have been selected through NASA's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnership, three through the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, two through the Science Mission Directorate, and three were chosen from submissions by NASA's international partners. The CubeSat spacecraft selected are:[22][23]

The remaining three slots were selected through a competition pitting CubeSat teams from the United States against each other in a series of ground tournaments called 'NASA's Cube Quest Challenge',[32][33] and were announced by NASA Ames on 8 June 2017. The competition was to contribute to opening deep-space exploration to non-government spacecraft. These slots were awarded to:[34]

  • Cislunar Explorers will demonstrate the viability of water electrolysis propulsion and interplanetary optical navigation to orbit the Moon. It was designed by Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
  • Earth Escape Explorer (CU-E3) will demonstrate long-distance communications while in heliocentric orbit. It was designed by the University of Colorado in Boulder.
  • Team Miles will demonstrate long-distance communications while in heliocentric orbit and show low-thrust trajectory control techniques by employing a hybrid ion thruster. It was designed by Fluid and Reason, LLC, Tampa, Florida.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Around the Moon with NASA's First Launch of SLS with Orion". NASA. 9 May 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b "NASA administrator on recent personnel shakeup: 'There's no turmoil at all'". 12 July 2019.
  3. ^ "NASA's large SLS rocket unlikely to fly before at least late 2021". 17 July 2019.
  4. ^ Bergin, Chris (23 February 2012). "Acronyms to Ascent – SLS managers create development milestone roadmap". Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  5. ^ a b Hill, Bill (March 2012). "Exploration Systems Development Status" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  6. ^ Bergin, Chris (14 June 2012). "NASA teams evaluating ISS-built Exploration Platform roadmap". Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  7. ^ Grush, Loren (17 May 2019). "NASA administrator on new Moon plan: 'We're doing this in a way that's never been done before'". The Verge. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  8. ^ a b Huot, Daniel, ed. (27 November 2015). "The Ins and Outs of NASA's First Launch of SLS and Orion". NASA. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  9. ^ a b c Singer, Jody (25 April 2012). "Status of NASA's Space Launch System" (PDF). NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 December 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Engineers resolve Orion will 'lose weight' in 2015". NASA. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  11. ^ Barrett, Josh (13 January 2015). "Orion program manager talks EFT-1 in Huntsville". Space Alabama. WAAY. Archived from the original on 18 January 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Engineers resolve Orion will 'lose weight' in 2015". WAFF. 13 January 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  13. ^ Dunbar, Brian, ed. (15 February 2017). "NASA to Study Adding Crew to First Flight of SLS and Orion". NASA. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  14. ^ Warner, Cheryl (24 February 2017). "NASA Kicks Off Study to Add Crew to First Flight of Orion, SLS". NASA. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  15. ^ Gebhardt, Chris (12 May 2017). "NASA will not put a crew on EM-1, cites cost – not safety – as main reason".
  16. ^ Foust, Jeff, ed. (13 March 2019). "NASA considering flying Orion on commercial launch vehicles". SpaceNews. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  17. ^ Sloss, Philip (19 April 2019). "NASA Launch Services Program outlines the alternative launcher review for EM-1". Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  18. ^ Pasztor, Andy (17 April 2018). "U.S., Israeli Space Agencies Join Forces to Protect Astronauts From Radiation". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  19. ^ Berger, Thomas (2017). Exploration Missions and Radiation (PDF). International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight. 11-12 October 2017. Las Cruces, New Mexico.
  20. ^ Berger, Thomas (2017). "ISPCS 2017 - Thomas Berger 'Exploration Missions and Radiation'". International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight.
  21. ^ Healy, Angel (4 February 2016). "Boeing-Built Rocket to Carry Lockheed Martin's Skyfire CubeSat". GovConWire. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  22. ^ Hambleton, Kathryn; Newton, Kim; Ridinger, Shannon (2 February 2016). "NASA Space Launch System's First Flight to Send Small Sci-Tech Satellites into Space". NASA. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  23. ^ a b Zolfagharifard, Ellie (3 April 2015). "An asteroid hunter, lunar flashlight and DNA kit: Nasa reveals experiments its mega rocket will carry on its first test flight". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  24. ^ "Lunar Flashlight". Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute. NASA. 2015. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  25. ^ Wall, Mike (9 October 2014). "NASA Is Studying How to Mine the Moon for Water". Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  26. ^ a b McNutt, Leslie; et al. (2014). Near-Earth Asteroid Scout (PDF). AIAA Space 2014 Conference. 4-7 August 2014. San Diego, California. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. M14-3850.
  27. ^ Frazier, Sarah (2 February 2016). "Heliophysics CubeSat to Launch on NASAs SLS". NASA. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  28. ^ LunaH-Map - Homepage at the Arizona State University.
  29. ^ Harbaugh, Jennifer, ed. (2 February 2016). "LunaH-Map: University-Built CubeSat to Map Water-Ice on the Moon". NASA. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  30. ^ a b c Hambleton, Kathryn; Henry, Kim; McMahan, Tracy (26 May 2016). "International Partners Provide CubeSats for SLS Maiden Flight". NASA. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  31. ^ Hernando-Ayuso, Javier; et al. (2017). Trajectory Design for the JAXA Moon Nano-Lander OMOTENASHI. 31st Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites. 5–10 August 2017. Logan, Utah. SSC17-III-07.
  32. ^ Clark, Stephen (8 April 2015). "NASA adding to list of CubeSats flying on first SLS mission". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  33. ^ Steitz, David E. (24 November 2014). "NASA Opens Cube Quest Challenge for Largest-Ever Prize of $5 Million". NASA. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  34. ^ Anderson, Gina; Porter, Molly (8 June 2017). "Three DIY CubeSats Score Rides on NASA's First Flight of Orion, Space Launch System". NASA.

External linksEdit