Canadian Astronauts to Join NASA’s First Artemis Mission Around the Moon – SpaceFlight Now


Moon seen from the International Space Station. Sincerely: NASA

Officials announced last week that a Canadian spacecraft would join the space launch system around the moon and three NASA crew members on the first pilot flight of the Orion spacecraft.

There will be a second flight opportunity for a Canadian astronaut on a later NASA mission to the International Gateway Station in orbit around the moon.

NASA and the Canadian Space Agency announced the agreement on 16 December for Canadian astronaut flights, as agencies confirmed details of Canada’s contribution to the Gateway station, which is, in a way, spacecraft refueling stations, and intensive Intended to serve as research outpost. The area around the moon.

“Canada will join the first crew mission on the moon since the Apollo mission,” said Navdeep Bains, Canadian minister of innovation, science and industry. Launched in 2023, a Canadian space agency astronaut will be part of Artemis 2, the first mission to take humans into lunar orbit in more than 50 years. This would make America only the second country after astronauts deep into space. “

NASA spokesman Monica Witt said the Artemis 2 crew would consist of three NASA astronauts and one Canadian astronaut. The Artemis 2 mission is currently scheduled to launch in 2023.

The signing of a final agreement strengthens Canada’s participation in the NASA-led Artemis program, which aims to return astronauts to the lunar surface in the 2020s. The Trump administration has a stated goal of 2024 to land humans at the South Pole of the Moon, a timetable widely viewed as ambitious and one reset by the incoming Biden administration for later in the 2020s can be done.

Under NASA’s Artemis architecture, astronauts will fly above the Earth. NASA’s space launch system flies around the moon in a massive rocket, Orion capsule, then with a human-rated lander for travel and off the lunar surface. Let’s link. The astronauts will then return to Earth in the Orion spacecraft.

An outpost named the Gateway, about one-sixth the size of the International Space Station, will be assembled in orbit around the Moon. NASA has said that the first two US-owned elements of the gateway could launch by the end of 2023, although a report by NASA’s Inspector General in November suggested the launch of the station’s power and propulsion modules and the slipping of the slum segment There was a possibility of In 2024.

Canadian astronauts Jeremy Henson, Jennifer Cyd-Gibbons, Joshua Kutryk and David Saint-Jacques. Credit: NASA / Bill Stafford

According to NASA, Canada built an advanced robotic arm, named Canadorm 3, for placement on the gateway in the 2026 timeframe. The Canadian Space Agency has formally agreed to provide robotic interfaces for the gateway modules, allowing the elements to host scientific devices.

NASA Administrator Jim Bryneddine said, “Canada was the first international partner committed to advancing Gateway in early 2019, they signed the Artemis Agreement in October and we are now excited to formalize this partnership.” “This agreement represents the development of our collaboration with CSA to provide the next generation of robotics who have supported decades of missions in space on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station, and now, for Artemis.”

The NASADerm 3 robotic arm will be transported to the gateway by a commercial logistic mission, NASA said .. NASA has contracted a larger version of its Dragon cargo capsule with SpaceX to fly deep into space for the gateway. Dragon XXX will launch on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Rocket.

“The gateway will enable a strong, permanent and ultimately permanent human presence on the lunar surface, where we can prove many skills, operations, and technologies that will be critical to future human Mars missions,” said NASA’s associate administrator . For human exploration and operation.

Earlier this month, NASA announced the selection of 18 US astronauts to begin training for the Artemis lunar mission. On space launch systems and the first crew test flight of the Orion capsule – or the first lunar landing mission – NASA has not revealed which astronauts will fly on the Artemis 2 mission.

Canadian officials did not announce which of its four active astronauts would take the seat on an Artemis 2 mission or a later Gateway flight.

CSA President Lisa Campbell said, “Canada has a strong core of lucky highly trained professional astronauts, either of which would be an excellent choice.” “These decisions are made with all kinds of specific considerations at a time when we get closer to flight.”

The artist’s concept of an Orion spacecraft on the moon. Sincerely: NASA

The Artemis 2 mission will follow an unpublished SLS / Orion test flight, named Artemis 1, scheduled to begin before the end of 2020 to orbit the lunar and return to Earth.

On the Artemis 2 mission, the four-man Orion crew will fly around the Moon on a “hybrid free return trajectory”.

After launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the space launch system will put the Orion crew capsule into orbit around the Earth, where astronauts will checkout, test the ship’s luxurious and docking systems, and then fly to the anion. Service modules will set the engine on fire. One and a half million miles from the moon.

The crew will not enter orbit around the Moon, but the trajectory will naturally bring the Orion spacecraft back to Earth directly, as astronauts are 4,600 miles (7,400 kilometers) away from the Moon farther than any human. Will spread. Ever traveled to space.

The Artemis 2 mission will last approximately 10 days, paving the way for future landing missions and long-haul flights to the gateway.

NASA is also working with other international partners on the Artemis program, although those partnerships have not yet led to a firm commitment to flight assignments for astronauts from other countries.

The European Space Agency and NASA signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation on the gateway in October. ESA will provide modules developed in conjunction with Japan, along with a module to support communications, in-space refueling, and be equipped with a window similar to the European-built cupola on the International Space Station.

ESA is also building service modules for Orion missions. The service module consists of solar panels to produce the craft’s electric power and propellant tanks to feed the capsule’s rocket thrusters.

NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency have signed a joint exploration declaration of intent to begin negotiations for the Japanese contribution to the Artemis program. In addition to helping ESA with residency modules, Japan’s space agency has also expressed interest in undertaking re-missions for the gateway using the country’s next-generation HTV-X cargo freezer.

Artist depiction of the Gateway Space Station with Canada’s Canadorm 3 robotic arm. Sincerely: CSA / NASA

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last year that his country would provide a robotics system for a gateway station near the moon. The government has paid 2.05 billion Canadian dollars (about 1.6 billion dollars) over the next 24 years for the Canadarm3 program and associated robot aids.

Canada’s four active astronauts based at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston have been training for space missions for years. Only one of the four astronauts, David Saint-Jacques, has flown into space on the International Space Station.

Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen said, “I’m very excited that Canada has something to do with the vision and leadership that we do so well – space robotics – (and) to take it into its next development.” “This is a significant leap forward in technology. It has a lot of trickle down effects regarding Artificial Intelligence. “

“International (astronauts) here in Houston are excited by the prospect of these missions to the moon and the opportunity for scientific discovery and innovation,” said Joshua Kutrick, one of Canada’s four active astronauts.

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Follow Stephen Clarke on Twitter: @ StephenClark1.

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