16. November 2022
Off to the Moon

NASA's Artemis I lu­nar mis­sion suc­cess­ful­ly launched

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Space
The SLS rocket takes off en route to the Moon
The SLS rock­et takes off en route to the Moon
Image 1/6, Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The SLS rocket takes off en route to the Moon

On 16 Novem­ber 2022 at 07:47 CET, the un­crewed test mis­sion Artemis I took off for the Moon from the Kennedy Space Cen­ter in Cape Canaver­al (Flori­da).
Amazing Artemis I launch
Amaz­ing Artemis I launch
Image 2/6, Credit: DLR/Jochemich

Amazing Artemis I launch

Launch of NASA's SLS rock­et with the Ori­on space­craft on 16 Novem­ber 2022 from Launch Pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Cen­ter in Flori­da.
NASA's Artemis I mission
NASA's Artemis I mis­sion
Image 3/6, Credit: NASA

NASA's Artemis I mission

The first mis­sion for NASA’s Ori­on will send the space­craft be­yond the Moon and back. Artemis I will be un­crewed
Orion's journey to the moon
Ori­on's jour­ney to the moon
Image 4/6, Credit: German Space Agency at DLR

Orion's journey to the moon

On its first jour­ney to the Moon, Ori­on - pow­ered by ESM-1 Bre­men - trav­els to the Moon un­crewed. The space­craft must or­bit the Earth's nat­u­ral satel­lite sev­er­al times and then re­turn to Earth. On­ly on the sec­ond mis­sion will as­tro­nauts trav­el in the cap­sule to the Moon and or­bit it. Un­der the Artemis pro­gramme, NASA aims to land a wom­an on the Moon for a first time by 2024.
Helga and Zohar on the flight deck of the Orion spacecraft
Hel­ga and Zo­har on the flight deck of the Ori­on space­craft
Image 5/6, Credit: NASA/LM/DLR

Helga and Zohar on the flight deck of the Orion spacecraft

The two DLR ra­di­a­tion mea­sure­ment man­nequins Hel­ga and Zo­har are now ready for their flight to the Moon and back.
15-metre antenna in Weilheim
15-me­tre an­ten­na in Weil­heim
Image 6/6, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

15-metre antenna in Weilheim

DLR's Weil­heim ground sta­tion has two 15-me­tre an­ten­nas which are used for com­mu­ni­ca­tion with geo­sta­tion­ary and near-Earth space­craft. Nu­mer­ous po­si­tion­ing of com­mu­ni­ca­tions satel­lites and sci­en­tif­ic space mis­sions have al­ready been suc­cess­ful­ly car­ried out with these an­ten­nas. The satel­lite ground sta­tion is op­er­at­ed by DLR's Ger­man Space Op­er­a­tions Cen­ter (GSOC).
  • NASA initiated the return to the Moon on 16 November 2022 at 07:47 CET with the launch of its new 98-metre high heavy-lift rocket SLS (Space Launch System) from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral (Florida), 50 years after the last Moon landing.
  • Europe, and Germany in particular, are substantially involved in this first flight test with the European Service Module, ESM-1.
  • Also on board are the two female astronaut phantoms, Helga and Zohar, from the DLR experiment MARE, which will be used to measure radiation exposure to the female organism beyond the orbit of the International Space Station for the first time.
  • Focus: Spaceflight, exploration, Moon, international cooperation, cosmic radiation

On 16 November 2022, NASA's Artemis I mission blasted off to the Moon from Launch Pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The new SLS rocket lifted off at 07:47 CET, carrying the Orion spacecraft towards Earth’s natural satellite. The mission is expected to last 26 days. The Orion spacecraft, whose service and propulsion module is the European Service Module (ESM), primarily built in Germany, will orbit the Moon several times. Also on board are two mannequins from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) used to measure radiation. The Orion spacecraft is scheduled to return to Earth on 11 December 2022.

Artemis I is the first in a series of missions in NASA's Artemis programme. The programme aims to land humans on the Moon again after more than 50 years, to establish a permanent base there with international partners and to build a space station in lunar orbit from which to send humans to more distant destinations, such as Mars. Artemis I is the first step on this path. This uncrewed mission will test all of the newly developed systems as they work together – the Orion spacecraft, the heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems.

Video: Anke Kaysser-Pyza­l­la con­grat­u­lates on the launch of Artemis I
Anke Kaysser-Pyza­l­la, Chair of the DLR Ex­ec­u­tive Board, of­fers her con­grat­u­la­tions on the suc­cess­ful launch of Artemis I.

NASA's vote of confidence in space technology ‘Made in Germany’

A central part of the Orion spacecraft is the European Service Module (ESM), which is built to a large extent in Germany by the European Space Agency (ESA) on behalf of NASA. The German Space Agency at DLR, based in Bonn, manages the German ESA contributions on behalf of the German government. The new Orion crew spacecraft cannot fly without the ESM. It contains the main engine and supplies electricity via four solar arrays. It also regulates the climate and temperature in the spacecraft and stores fuel, oxygen and water supplies for the crew. The Artemis cooperation is the first time that NASA has relied on partners from other countries for a critical component of astronautical missions – a significant vote of confidence in the capabilities of the European space sector.

Walther Pelz­er ex­tends his con­grat­u­la­tions on the suc­cess­ful launch of Artemis I.
Walther Pelz­er, DLR Ex­ec­u­tive Board Mem­ber and Di­rec­tor Gen­er­al of the Ger­man Space Agen­cy at DLR, ex­tends his con­grat­u­la­tions on the suc­cess­ful launch of Artemis I.

Measuring radiation exposure on the way to the Moon

On board the Orion spacecraft are two ‘astronaut phantoms’ named Helga and Zohar. They are measuring bodies equipped with special radiation detectors that replicate the female torso, including its reproductive organs, in order to measure radiation exposure in the organs that are particularly sensitive to radiation. The Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE) is the name of this experiment, led by the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine, to research the nature of the radiation exposure that future Artemis crews can expect to face.

Scientific support for Artemis I

DLR's Space Operations and Astronaut Training facility is also involved in the mission. Its associated German Ground System Central Station in Weilheim has been selected as a partner to provide scientific support services for Artemis I. This involves a ‘one-way Doppler measurement’, which is the most precise method currently available for determining the orbital velocity of a spacecraft. The data from Weilheim will be evaluated at NASA headquarters. For these Doppler measurements, the Weilheim ground station provides the necessary antenna equipment, the necessary geographical location and the technical capability – making it an ‘official supporter’ of Artemis I.

Data transfer to the ESM Support Centre

DLR’s German Space Operations Center (GSOC) in Oberpfaffenhofen is also involved in the mission: it operates the European part of the ground segment, forwarding all relevant data to ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), which is the support centre for the European Service Module. This is GSOC's first contribution to future lunar missions. Preparations are also already underway for the operation of the Human Exploration Control Centre (HECC) – the European control centre for astronautical missions to the Moon and Mars.

Video: Moon mission #Artemis 1 successfully launched (Recap NASA livestream)
On 16 November 2022, NASA's Artemis I mission blasted off to the Moon from Launch Pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The new SLS rocket lifted off at 07:47 CET, carrying the Orion spacecraft towards Earth’s natural satellite. The mission is expected to last 26 days. The Orion...

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