World’s ‘most powerful’ rocket to be launched in 14 days
This November 14, the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will take off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will be one of several NASA Artemis I missions, whose goal is to have a human presence on the Moon for decades to come.
The launch will take place at Launch Complex 39B located at the Kennedy Space Center’s modernized spaceport in Florida, USA. This is an unmanned test that will install a base for human exploration of deep space and its flight will be made by launching the ‘world’s most powerful’ rocket and will fly farther than any spacecraft built to be manned has ever flown before. According to NASA, its journey will be four to six days, covering 450,616 kilometers from Earth.
Orion will stay in space longer than any astronaut spacecraft without docking with a space station and will return home faster and hotter than ever before. “This is a mission that will really do what hasn’t been done and learn what hasn’t been known. It will blaze a trail that people will follow on the next Orion flight,” explained Mike Sarafin, Artemis I mission manager at NASA’s Washington headquarters.
What will liftoff and ascent be like?
During liftoff and ascent, the SLS rocket will produce 8.8 million pounds of thrust to carry a vehicle weighing nearly six million pounds into orbit. A pair of five-segment boosters and four RS-25 engines will be used, reaching the period of highest atmospheric forcing in ninety seconds.
After jettisoning the boosters, the service module panels, launch abort system and core stage engines will be shut down and the core stage will be separated from the spacecraft.
As the spacecraft orbits Earth, it will deploy its solar panels and the interim cryogenic propulsion stage will give Orion the big boost needed to leave Earth’s orbit and travel toward the Moon; this will take a few days.
The spacecraft will fly about 97 kilometers above the Moon’s surface and then use the satellite’s gravitational force to propel Orion into a distant retrograde orbit, traveling about 64,000 kilometers beyond the Moon.
This distance is 48,000 kilometers farther than the previous record set during the Apollo 13 mission and the farthest distance in space ever flown by a spacecraft built for humans.
For its return trip to Earth, Orion will get another gravity assist from the Moon as it performs a second close flyby, firing engines at precisely the right time to take advantage of the Moon’s gravity and accelerate back to Earth, setting itself on a trajectory to return.
- Launch date: November 14, 2022.
- Duration of mission: 25 days, 11 hours, 21 minutes
- Total distance traveled: 1.3 million miles
- Reentry speed: 24,500 mph (Mach 32)
- Landing: December 09, 2022