Why NASA’s Artemis Program Doesn’t Have Reusable Rockets (A Re-Usable Booster Carries Less Payload)

Why NASA's Artemis Program Doesn't Have Reusable Rockets

Unfortunately for NASA, a leak in the rocket’s fuel system has caused them to postpone the historic Artemis I mission to the moon once again. Although the Artemis I mission will not touch down on the moon’s surface, it will be the farthest a spacecraft built for humans has ever travelled.

NASA’s big trip won’t have any humans on it, but it will have three astronauts: Helga, Zohar, and Moonikin Campos. Scientists will use these high-tech manikins (a term for human models used in research) to see how space travel affects the human body. 

Why NASA's Artemis Program Doesn't Have Reusable Rockets

Moonkin Campos will take the captain’s seat to monitor how rough a trip to the moon might for future human crew members, while Helga and Zohar built to measure the effects of radiation on women’s bodies in space. 

Though unremarkable in and of themselves, these manikins are essential to NASA’s plans to pave a new way to the moon and, eventually, send astronauts to Mars. They are one of several scientific experiments aboard the mission with the goal of expanding our knowledge of space travel.

NASA had planned to launch on August 29, but several problems prevented that from happening, such as a nearby thunderstorm and difficulties chilling one of the rocket’s engines. 

Due to the leak in the fuel system, NASA had to push back the launch date to September 2. As of right now, the agency says the mission could go ahead in late September, but it could be delayed until October.

The studies being conducted on Artemis I, at locations such as Helga, Zohar, and Moonkin Campos, are all preparatory for future missions.

Artemis Program

 NASA's Artemis Program

NASA’s Artemis program is a joint robotic and human exploration of the Moon by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and Canada’s Space Agency (CSA) (CSA). If Artemis is successful, it will be the first human mission to the Moon since Apollo 17 in 1972.

 The Space Launch System (SLS), the Orion spacecraft, the Lunar Gateway space station, and the commercial Human Landing Systems (HLSs) like Starship HLS are the main parts of the program. 

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The manned launch of Artemis 2 scheduled for 2024, the lunar landing of Artemis 3 for 2025, Artemis 4 docking with the Lunar Gateway in 2027, and subsequent annual landings on the Moon thereafter.

SLS Missions

The first test flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion spacecraft will be the uncrewed Artemis I mission in 2022. The objective of Artemis I is to put Orion in a lunar orbit and bring it back to Earth. Sending Orion to the moon will require the SLS’s use of the ICPS’s second stage, which will carry out the trans-lunar injection burn. 

 NASA's Artemis SLS Missions

As Orion approaches the Moon, it will enter a retrograde orbit around the poles of the moon, where it will remain for about six days before accelerating toward Earth. After separating from its service module, the Orion capsule will re-enter the atmosphere for aerobraking before descending to Earth and splashing down under parachutes.

As HLS descends to the Moon’s surface, two astronauts will board the craft and spend the next 6.5 days exploring the lunar surface. To prepare for their rendezvous with Orion, the astronauts will perform at least two EVAs on the surface. The four astronauts will brought back to Earth by Orion. The earliest that launch could occur is 2025.

Artemis Accords

Reports from Reuters on 5 May 2020 indicated that the Trump administration was working on a new international agreement outlining the rules for mining on the Moon. On May 15, 2020, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine made the Artemis Accords public.

 As stated on the Artemis website, it is “based on the Outer Space Treaty of 1967” and consists of a series of bilateral agreements between the governments of participating nations in the Artemis program. 

The Artemis Accords have called “a concerted, strategic effort to redirect international space cooperation in favour of short-term U.S. commercial interests” by some American academics. 

In the year 2021, Mexico finally put pen to paper. Signing dates are as follows: January 2022 for Israel, March 2022 for Romania and Singapore, May 2022 for Colombia, June 2022 for France, and July 2022 for Saudi Arabia.

Launch Vehicles

According to NASA’s preliminary mission concepts from May 2020, which refined by the HLS contract award in July 2021, the Space Launch System will used for Orion, SpaceX’s Starship will used for the HLS.

 NASA's Artemis Launch Vehicles

 Falcon Heavy will used for Gateway components, and other launch vehicles contracted for the various CLPS cargo providers. In July of 2019, it proposed that the European Ariane 6 would join the program.

Originally scheduled to launch on an SLS Block 1B, the Gateway’s Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) module and Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) will now take flight on a Falcon Heavy in November 2024.

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 About twenty-eight commercial cargo missions using as-yet-unidentified commercial launch vehicles will support and replenish the Gateway. It will be Gateway Logistics Services (GLS) who are in charge of replenishment operations. Dragon XL is a resupply vehicle that GLS has contracted for construction.

 It can stay docked to the Gateway for a year of operations, provide and generate its own power while docked, and dispose of itself autonomously when its mission is complete.

FAQs – People Also Ask

Is Artemis rocket reusable?

With its Super Heavy booster and Starship upper stage, SpaceX has created a super heavy-lift launch system. The Starship is a two-in-one, functioning as both a second stage and a spaceship. Both the booster and most spacecraft variants are fully reusable.

What will Artemis 3 do?

To land on the Moon for the first time since Apollo 17 in 1972, Artemis 3 is the third mission to the Moon. Continuing on from the Artemis 2 mission, four astronauts will spend 30 days in space aboard the Orion module, which will dock with the Lunar Gateway.

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William Davis

William here, I'm a born and raised New Jerseyan who's always been interested in writing. After college, I moved to Canada to pursue a career in SAAS development. I've always been an avid fisherman, and enjoy spending my free time outdoors. I'm also a huge fan of TV shows, and often spend my evenings binge-watching my favorites.
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