Artemis II Orion Spacecraft Getting Ready for First Flight

The fight is raging on multiple fronts over at NASA, with rocket scientists hard at work getting the many pieces of the Artemis program puzzle to fall in their proper place.

At the time of writing, the Artemis I Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft are on the launch pad, awaiting the start of the second wet dress rehearsal test at the beginning of next week. Artemis I is meant to be a dry run to the Moon and back, with no crew on board, and hopes are that we’ll still get to see it happen by the end of this year.

At the same time, dedicated teams are working on the Artemis II mission. This one will be crewed and, even if it won’t see humans actually land on the Moon, it’ll test the hardware’s ability to keep astronauts alive on their trip over there and back.

Since none of the hardware to be used in this program is re-usable, Artemis II (and III, and whatever comes after that) requires a whole new set of rocket and spacecraft. They’re also called SLS and Orion, of course.

On May 27, the Orion spaceship for Artemis II was powered up for the first time, and it’s currently undergoing a three-part test, scheduled to last several months. In addition to that, the forward bay cover that protects Orion on its way back to Earth, and the European service module, are to be installed.

As for the Artemis II SLS, the core stage is already assembled, with crews targeting the end of the year for completion.

Since this is NASA we’re talking about, people there are also working on the Artemis III mission, the one that will actually land humans on the Moon once more. The hardware for this one is still in its early stages of completion, as they only need to be ready for flight towards the end of the decade