NASA is weeks away from launching its first Artemis flight to the moon this month and you can find out all about the mission in free webcasts this week.
Artemis 1, NASA’s uncrewed deep-space test flight of its Orion spacecraft and massive Space Launch System mega-rocket, is scheduled to launch around the moon on August 29. To set the stage for the mission, NASA will host a mission briefing on Wednesday (August 3) as well as a detailed mission briefing on Friday (August 5), and you can watch both events for free online at NASA website (opens in a new tab)NASA TV and the NASA app (opens in a new tab).
“Artemis 1 is an uncrewed flight test, the first in a series of increasingly complex missions to the Moon,” NASA officials wrote in an announcement. (opens in a new tab). “Through the Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the moon, paving the way for a long-term lunar presence and serving as a springboard for sending astronauts to Mars.”
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NASA’s first Artemis 1 press conference this week will be Wednesday at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT), when the agency will hold a general overview of the mission. The briefing is expected to last one hour and will feature the following speakers:
- NASA Administrator Bill Nelson;
- Bhavya Lal, Associate Administrator for Technology, Policy and Strategy at NASA Headquarters;
- Mike Sarafin, Artemis 1 mission manager at NASA Headquarters;
- Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Artemis 1 Launch Director at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida (mission launch site);
- John Honeycutt, Space Launch System program manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama;
- Howard Hu, Orion program manager, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston.
Following Wednesday’s briefing, NASA will host an Artemis 1 media day at its Johnson Space Center, home to the agency’s astronaut corps. This media day will take place on Friday, August 5 and will include a detailed briefing on the Artemis 1 mission at 11:30 a.m. EDT (15:30 GMT). This briefing will feature the following speakers:
- Debbie Korth, associate director of JSC’s Orion program;
- Rick LaBrode, JSC Artemis I Senior Flight Director;
- Judd Frieling, JSC Artemis I ascent/entry flight director;
- Melissa Jones, KSC Artemis I Recovery Manager;
- Reid Wiseman, JSC chief astronaut;
- Philippe Deloo, head of the Orion European Service Module program at the European Space Agency.
“The first briefing will provide an overview of the Artemis 1 mission, and the second briefing will dig deeper into the Artemis 1 mission timeline and spacecraft operations,” NASA officials said in the announcement.
Related: How NASA’s Artemis Moon Landing Works With Astronauts
Artemis 1 is a critical test flight that will launch an Orion spacecraft around the moon to test the technologies NASA needs to support the return of astronauts to the lunar surface. It will launch a “Moonikin” dummy, cubesats and other experiments inside Orion on a journey that will circle the moon and back to Earth.
If all goes well, NASA will follow the Artemis 1 mission with a crewed flight around the moon, called Artemis 2, in 2024. The Artemis 3 mission is the one that will land astronauts on the lunar surface, the spacecraft of SpaceX serving as the lunar lander for this flight. This flight is scheduled sometime after Artemis 2.