Australian scientists to keep an eye on NASA’s Artemis 1 on the historic space mission to the moon

Australian scientists to keep an eye on NASA’s Artemis 1 on the historic space mission to the moon

Australian scientists to keep an eye on NASA’s Artemis 1 on the historic space mission to the moon

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For 42 days after launch, Australian scientists will follow NASA’s Artemis I on its journey to the moon and back.

The launch was scheduled for Monday evening but was canceled due to technical problems. The next launch window will be on Friday.

The mission is a “dress rehearsal” for sending humans to the moon in 2025, says Glen Nagle, spokesperson for CSIRO’s Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC).

When it goes forward, a Space Launch System rocket will boost the Orion spacecraft into Earth’s orbit. Then the Orion will use its own propulsion source to exit orbit and head into deep space.

Approximately 70 minutes after the aircraft’s launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida, CDSCC will detect the signal and work with its Nasa Deep Space network stations in Spain and California to monitor and triangulate the Orion.

Orion will spend about eight days to reach the moon, orbit for about a week, then crash into the Pacific Ocean in October.

Related: Artemis 1 rocket: what will NASA’s lunar mission bring to space?

Nagle – now 60 – said he was a seven-year-old boy in 1969 when he saw Buzz Aldrin land on the moon as part of the Apollo mission, and he felt that way again.

“It’s very exciting,” he said.

“The team in the control room will be busy preparing the antennas to make first contact with the spacecraft. We will be the first station to have contact with the spacecraft as it begins its journey to the moon, so obviously we will have ongoing contact through our partners.

“We will receive telemetry from the spacecraft, make sure all equipment is functioning properly and report that information back to Houston, and track it, making sure it’s on course.”

The team will also monitor a small fleet of shoebox-sized satellites, or cubesats, to be deployed along Orion’s voyage.

This is a hands-on run for when the manned mission heads for the moon. That mission will not only orbit, but will land and begin work on a settlement that will ultimately be a jumping off point for Mars.

This mission may not have a human crew, but it does have Captain Moonikin Campos aboard. Moonikin, called by the public and partly in homage to Apollo 13 engineer Arturo Campos, will wear the same full-body spacesuits that the Artemis astronauts will use and will be equipped with sensors to detect radiation, acceleration and vibrations.

Related: Artemis 1: the crowd throng to watch the take off of the most powerful rocket of NASA towards the moon

He will be joined by two female-bodied mannequin torsos called Zohar and Helga.

“Sean the sheep” is on board, to acknowledge the involvement of the European Space Agency, and there are a number of other materials included in the experiment.

CSIRO Executive Director Prof. Elanor Huntington said the recent upgrades to the Canberra complex have been critical to Australia’s role.

“Australia was there for the first moon landing and CSIRO is thrilled to be there for when NASA will land the first woman and first black person on the moon in the 1920s,” she said.

“CSIRO’s longstanding relationship with NASA goes back more than 60 years, creating revolutionary solutions from science and fueled by our shared ambition to push the boundaries of the imagination for the benefit of life on Earth.

“Our team of CDSCC experts and their Deep Space sister network stations located in Spain and the United States will provide round-the-clock coverage of the mission.”

• This article was changed on August 29, 2022. The mission that brings humans back to the moon is scheduled for 2025, not 2035 as the subtitle and text of an earlier version said.

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