The Artemis Pro­gramme – re­turn to the Moon

NASA's Artemis I mission
NASA's Artemis I mis­sion
Image 1/7, 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
On the way to the Moon
On the way to the Moon
Image 2/7, Credit: ©NASA, composition image: DLR

On the way to the Moon

The Ori­on space­craft will or­bit the Moon sev­er­al times be­fore re­turn­ing to Earth.
The ‘crew’ of the Artemis I mission to the Moon
The ‘crew’ of the Artemis I mis­sion to the Moon
Image 3/7, Credit: NASA/Lockheed Martin/DLR

The ‘crew’ of the Artemis I mission to the Moon

The two ‘phan­toms’ of the Ma­trosh­ka As­tro­Rad Ra­di­a­tion Ex­per­i­ment (MARE), which will fly to the Moon on NASA's first Artemis I mis­sion, oc­cu­py two of pas­sen­ger seats (Seat #3 and Seat #4) in the Ori­on cap­sule.
Artemis mission logo
Artemis mis­sion lo­go
Image 4/7, Credit: ©NASA

Artemis mission logo

Artemis 1 mis­sion lo­go.
SLS rocket on the launch pad
SLS rock­et on the launch pad
Image 5/7, Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

SLS rocket on the launch pad

NASA's new Space Launch Sys­tem (SLS) rock­et at its launch site 39B at Kennedy Space Cen­ter in Flori­da fol­low­ing roll­out on 17 Au­gust 2022.

Helga and Zohar on the flight deck of the Orion spacecraft
Hel­ga and Zo­har on the flight deck of the Ori­on space­craft
Image 6/7, 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.
Orion at Kennedy Space Center
Ori­on at Kennedy Space Cen­ter
Image 7/7, Credit: NASA/Radislav Sinyak

Orion at Kennedy Space Center

When the Unit­ed States sends its first, ini­tial­ly un­manned Ori­on space­craft in­to or­bit around Earth's nat­u­ral satel­lite in spring 2022 in prepa­ra­tion for fu­ture as­tro­nau­ti­cal mis­sions, it will be pow­ered by Ger­man tech­nol­o­gy. Ori­on is cur­rent­ly be­ing pre­pared for its first voy­age with this propul­sion and sup­ply unit – the so-called Eu­ro­pean Ser­vice Mod­ule (ESM) – at Kennedy Space Cen­ter in Flori­da.

It has been almost 50 years since astronauts last set foot on the Moon (Apollo 17, December 1972). That is set to change before the end of this decade with NASA's Artemis programme planning to once again land humans on Earth's natural satellite. This time, the mission will also include the first woman to travel to the Moon. But that is not all; a permanent base camp is to be established on the Moon in collaboration with international partners. Together with the Lunar Gateway, an orbiting space station that will serve both for research and as a 'transfer station' between spacecraft and the lunar surface, the next 'big step for humankind' is underway. This first crewed mission to Mars will be flown by both female and male astronauts.

Artemis I is the first of a series of missions in NASA’s Artemis programme. Artemis I is the first step on this path. On this uncrewed mission, all the newly developed systems will be tested regarding the interaction between the Orion spacecraft, the Space Launch System (SLS) and the ground systems. Artemis II will carry a crew of four on board and will orbit the Moon. Artemis III is set to land humans on the Moon again.

ESM – Space technology 'Made in Germany'

A core part of the Orion spacecraft is the European Service Module (ESM), which is being built to a large extent in Germany by the European Space Agency (ESA) on behalf of NASA. It contains the main engine and provides electricity using four solar sails. It also regulates the climate and temperature in the spacecraft and stores fuel, oxygen and water supplies for the crew. The Orion spacecraft, and with it the ESM, is considered a key milestone for future crewed exploration missions to the Moon, but also to Mars and beyond. The Artemis collaboration is the first time NASA has relied on partners from other nations for a critical component of astronautical missions – a tremendous vote of confidence in the capabilities of spacefaring nations in Europe.

MARE – Radiation exposure on a journey to the Moon

Outside Earth's protective magnetic field, radiation exposure is very high for humans. It poses a considerable health risk for future crews on long-term missions to the Moon and Mars. That is why it is crucial to determine this exposure more precisely and to develop measures to protect astronauts. The MARE experiment, led by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), uses two identical mannequins which will fly to the Moon on board NASA's Artemis I mission, to investigate radiation exposure during the entire flight. The twin measuring mannequins are modelled on female physiology. One of them – Helga – will fly to the Moon unprotected; the other – Zohar – will wear a newly developed radiation protection vest. The measurements made during Artemis I will provide valuable risk assessment and mitigation data for future exploration missions and enable safe human exploration of space.

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