February 4, 2023

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The first new moon mission has been launched

Artemis-1 is the first new space mission to the Moon and was scheduled to launch on August 29, 2022. Several delays followed due to technical problems or bad weather. But in the morning hours today it finally rose.

NASA and other major space organizations are betting on New Moon missions to learn more about what is needed for humans to be able to go further into the solar system. Here, there is both research and new technology and procedures that need to be developed and tested.

You can read more about why space organizations are now returning to the Moon here.

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On Artemis-1, Orion will enter lunar orbit and stay there for a few weeks. Image: NASA

There are no Artemis-1 astronauts in flight, because this time systems, instruments, engines and other technical things will be tested.

The trip goes to the Moon, which is a journey that takes about four days. Orion will remain here for at least 17 days and will perform various maneuvers and orbital tests during that time. After that, Orion returns to Earth, and then lands in the ocean after at least 25 days in space.

NASA will broadcast the launch on its website here.

New international space cooperation

The Artemis missions are NASA’s new moon program, but they’re not alone. Also participating in the collaboration are the European Space Agency (ESA), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the Japanese Aerospace Agency (JAXA). The European Space Agency is building the service module for Orion, which houses the electrical system, as well as the onboard air, water, heat and rocket engine systems.

Clara Venture Labs (formerly Prototech) in Bergen provides technology to Orion. Other Norwegian companies also have projects for technology to use on the Moon. You can read more about it here.

The space organizations collaborating on Orion will also build Gateway, a space station in orbit near the Moon. This new International Space Station will be a research laboratory and launch pad for trips to the lunar surface and further into space.

The component modules of Gateway will be launched with Orion and the SLS, and will be assembled by astronauts on upcoming Artemis missions.

Here is an ESA press folder with information about Orion, the European Service Module (ESM), and the Artemis program.

On the same level as Oslo Plaza

Among those who will be traveling to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch the launch is Marian Finney Tantello, the European Space Agency’s sector manager and international cooperation at the Norwegian Space Center.

– I was invited by the European Space Agency to participate in the launch because I am the head of the European Space Agency’s program for manned space travel, says Vinnie Tantillo.

Several guests are invited to the launch. They will see it from a separate building on the space base. But when a launch vehicle takes off nearly as high as the Oslo Plaza Hotel, it doesn’t go quietly.

– Even if we are several kilometers away from the actual launch, the light from the rocket engines will be as intense as a welding torch. The rocket will also sound loud, with strong vibrations that can be felt throughout the body, says Vinny Tantillo.

– This will be very exciting because everything is new, both the Orion spacecraft and the SLS launch vehicle. This is also the beginning of new space flights to the moon, which will be a big step for mankind into space. We’ve been working towards this for a long time, and now we’re finally here, says Vinnie Tantillo.

It could be a new industrial adventure

In 2019, Norway increased its investment in manned space travel within the European Space Agency.

– It has given new and growing opportunities to Norwegian industry and research institutes, because with the new moon missions, new roles and new professional fields open up, says Vinny Tantelo.

Among others, space medicine is one of the new professional fields in demand in space, to which the Norwegian industry can contribute. Read more about it here.

– Another area we are investigating for Norwegian industry is the extraction of resources on the moon so that astronauts can use them. This is technology and solutions that would also be useful on the ground, says Vinnie Tantillo.

For example, Nammo is developing a rocket engine for use in the European Space Agency’s new lunar lander. Clara Venture Labs is developing fuel cells for use on the lunar surface. The Moon could become a new Norwegian industrial adventure.

– By solving the new and unique problems needed to be able to have people on the moon, we need very innovative solutions, and by developing them we learn a lot, says Vinnie Tantillo.

– This is also one of the main reasons why space organizations and the space industry are now returning to the Moon. It will obviously provide new opportunities and new roles for Norwegian industry and Norwegian research.

The Norwegian Space Center has many support options for Norwegian companies that want to enter the space industry. Read more about it here.

Contact

Marianne Vinje Tantillo – Sector Manager, ESA and International Cooperation – Norwegian Space Center – [email protected]