Artemis 2 trajectory
|Mission type||Crewed lunar flyby|
|Mission duration||Planned: 10 days|
|Spacecraft type||Orion MPCV|
|Manufacturer||Lockheed Martin / Airbus|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||Q4 2022|
|Rocket||SLS Block 1|
|Launch site||Kennedy LC-39B|
|End of mission|
|Landing site||Pacific Ocean|
|Flyby of Moon|
|Distance||Planned: 4,000 nmi (7,400 km)|
The current plan is for a crewed Orion spacecraft to perform a lunar flyby test and return to Earth. This is planned to be the first crewed spacecraft to leave low Earth orbit since Apollo 17 in 1972.
Formerly known as Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2), the mission was renamed after the introduction of the Artemis program. Originally, the crewed mission was intended to collect samples from a captured asteroid in lunar orbit by the now canceled robotic Asteroid Redirect Mission.
Until 2017, Exploration Mission-2 was a projected single-launch mission of a Space Launch System (SLS) Block 1B with an Exploration Upper Stage, lunar Block 1 Orion spacecraft, and a payload insertion of 50.7 t (112,000 lb). The plan was to rendezvous with an asteroid previously placed in lunar orbit by the robotic Asteroid Redirect Mission and have astronauts perform space-walks and gather samples. After the cancellation of the Asteroid Redirect Mission, it was proposed in 2017 to fly an eight-day mission with a crew of four astronauts, sent on a free return trajectory around the Moon. Another proposal suggested in 2017 was to take four astronauts aboard Orion on an 8-to-21-day trip around the Moon to deliver the first element of the Deep Space Gateway.
In March 2018 it was decided to launch the first Lunar Gateway module on a commercial launch vehicle because of delays in building the Mobile Launcher needed to hold the more powerful Exploration Upper Stage. As of 2018[update], the Artemis 2 mission plan is to send four astronauts in the first crewed Orion capsule into a lunar flyby for a maximum of 21 days. The mission profile is a multi-translunar injection (MTLI), or multiple departure burns, and includes a free return trajectory from the Moon. Basically, the spacecraft will orbit Earth twice while periodically firing its engines to build up enough velocity to push it toward the Moon before looping back to Earth.
NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) is seeking proposals from US institutions and US companies to fly their CubeSat missions as secondary payloads aboard the SLS on the Artemis 2 mission. NASA will accept proposals for both six-unit (12 kg) and 12-unit (20 kg) CubeSats. As with the Artemis 1 mission, the CubeSats flying on Artemis 2 will be mounted on the inside of the stage adapter ring between the SLS upper stage and the Orion spacecraft, and will be deployed after Orion separates. Selections will be made by mid-February 2020.
During preliminary reviews in 2011, the launch date was placed somewhere between 2019 and 2021, but afterwards the launch date was delayed to 2023 on an SLS rocket. This was later updated to late 2022.
In 1968, the Apollo 8 mission, crewed by three astronauts, was designed to test-fly command and service module beyond low Earth orbit. Although similar to Artemis 2 in that it was crewed and did not land on the Moon, it differed by entering lunar orbit for an extended stay. Apollo 13 (1970) was the only Apollo mission that flew past the Moon by a free-return trajectory.
In 2005, the company Space Adventures announced plans to take two tourists within 100 km (62 mi) of the lunar surface using a Soyuz spacecraft piloted by a professional cosmonaut. The mission, named DSE-Alpha, has been priced at US$150 million per seat and is expected to last 8–9 days when scheduled. Company CEO Eric Anderson stated in 2011 that one seat had been sold, but the launch date has continually slipped since the second seat remains unsold as of 2017[update].
A SpaceX lunar tourism mission was initially proposed for late 2018 and would have been similar to Artemis 2 in crew size, with two space tourists paying for a free-return loop around the Moon and back to Earth, using the Crew Dragon capsule and launched on the Falcon Heavy. After the first flight of Falcon Heavy in 2018, SpaceX announced that Falcon Heavy would not be used for crewed flights to focus their future development on Starship and indicated that the lunar mission would more likely be carried out with the Starship. On September 14, 2018, SpaceX officially announced that it had signed one of the paying passengers, Yusaku Maezawa, for the #dearMoon project mission using the Starship, scheduled for 2023, and that he would invite 6 to 8 artists to join him.
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NASA is seeking proposals from U.S. small satellite developers to fly their CubeSat missions as secondary payloads aboard the SLS on the Artemis 2 mission under the agency's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI).
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NASA on Aug. 5 released a solicitation for cubesats to ride along with the first crewed flight of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule, with the caveat that selected projects fill strategic knowledge gaps for future lunar and Mars exploration.
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