ARTEMIS. The new spacesuit designed for the Artemis 3 mission was unveiled on March 15. NASA also announced the launch date for the next Artemis 2 mission.
[Updated March 17, 2023 3:37 PM] Axiom Space on Wednesday March 15 presented the prototype spacesuit developed for the Artemis III lunar mission scheduled to take place in 2025. Designed to allow astronauts to move on the Moon, this outfit is called the Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit. A real technical challenge, this suit must both ensure the safety of the astronaut while allowing him to move with precision. Completely hermetic, flexible but also very resistant, this suit constitutes a real individual spaceship since it will protect its wearer from the extreme temperatures to which it will be exposed, from dust but also from the absence of lunar atmosphere.
On Wednesday, March 8, NASA announced the launch date for the Artemis II mission which will carry astronauts into lunar orbit. The latter will not land on the surface of our satellite but will go around it before returning to Earth. Scheduled for November 2024, it is the first manned flight to the Moon in over 50 years. The identity of the astronauts chosen to form the crew of this historic mission should be revealed on April 3.
Presented on March 15, 2023, NASA's new suits are inspired by those worn by Apollo program astronauts in the 1970s. These new versions, however, offer greater mobility to astronauts than those of the last century. If the prototype presented during the demonstration is black, the final version will sport the eternal white color which allows the sun's rays to be reflected and thus protects its wearer from extreme temperatures. This final version should be ready for the launch of the Artemis III mission which will take place in 2025 and during which astronauts should land at the south pole of the Moon.
Spacesuits are particularly complex to develop because they meet multiple criteria. They must at the same time be extremely resistant to wear, hermetic, but also comfortable to wear since the astronauts must carry out a certain number of manipulations during their extravehicular outings. In addition, the new Axiom Space suits have several systems for temperature regulation, breathing gas management as well as a communication device. The suit is also equipped with front lights and a high resolution camera.
Currently scheduled for November 2024, the continuation of the Artemis program should send a crew of astronauts around the Moon. Again, no landing planned on our satellite since the mission will consist of reaching an orbit around the Moon and then returning to Earth using the Orion module. This is the first manned mission of the Artemis program and constitutes the final phase of testing the various systems of the module before the third stage of the program.
According to an announcement from the American Space Agency made at the beginning of March 2023, the launch of the Artemis II mission is scheduled for November 2024. We do not yet know the names of the astronauts selected to take place on board the Orion capsule that will take them to the Moon. However, NASA has specified that an astronaut will be of Canadian nationality. The identity of the crew members will be revealed on April 3.
How long and how long does the manned flight of Artemis 2 take?
The flight of Artemis II should resemble that of Artemis I except that this time the Orion capsule will carry four astronauts. This mission will consist of a launch phase during which the rocket will launch and its various parts will separate. Then the Orion service module will propel the capsule into orbit around the Moon. Once this lunar flyby has been completed, the crew will head to Earth and should be picked up in the Pacific Ocean upon arrival. This mission should last at least eight days.
50 years after the last step of Man on the Moon, the Artemis program, orchestrated by NASA in collaboration with the European, Canadian and Japanese space agencies, is preparing to repeat the feat. But if this program plans to set foot again on our natural satellite, the Moon, its ambitions are greater. The Artemis program is the first step to a more distant goal: the planet Mars. Artemis currently comprises three phases which should culminate in the return of man to the Moon in 2025. Astronauts stay on lunar soil is expected to last 6.5 days and the crew will consist of four individuals including a woman and a person of color, NASA announced.
The big breakthrough that distinguishes this new lunar program from the Apollo missions of the 1960s-70s is the design of a permanent lunar station. Called "Lunar Gateway", this structure located in orbit around the Moon is one of the major challenges of this new program. Indeed, this space station represents a stopover and a real laboratory for lunar exploration but also an advanced base for future missions to the planet Mars.
The next mission that plans to send astronauts to the Moon, Artemis II, is scheduled for November 2024, more than a year later than originally planned. This flight would be similar to Artemis I but include astronauts on board, in what would be the first crewed mission to the Moon since the Apollo program. Landing with humans would take place in 2025 with Artemis III, but NASA officials said the timing would depend on the success of previous test flights.
In an interview with France Info, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet revealed that he was a candidate for one of the next manned flights of the Artemis program. "From Artemis III, Europe will have a say in the matter thanks to our contribution to the Orion capsule. We will then have flights for European astronauts". But "I am not the only one, we are some to apply for missions to the Moon (...) This means that there will be several European astronauts who will tread the lunar soil in the next decades ".