In preparation for the mission that wants to take the Moon Man back in 2024, NASA announced that it has successfully tested the Orion capsule's emergency mechanisms. At issue was the Attitude Control Motor (ACM), which is responsible for guiding the Launch Abort System (LAS), the system for protecting astronauts in a dangerous situation in case of emergency.
It only took 30 seconds of intense flames for NASA to prove that the engine was working as planned. The space agency explains that, during the test, the eight high-pressure valves managed to direct more than 3,000 kg of thrust generated by the engine, proving that it has enough strength to guide the Orion capsule and land it safely.
NASA explains that the LAS consists of two more engines in addition to the ACM. One is prepared to separate the module where the launch vehicle crew is while the other is activated when the LAS leaves the capsule. In order to be used in lunar missions, the engines need to pass several tests.
Between 2020 and 2024, three Artemis ships will be launched into space, which will be accompanied by Orion capsules. NASA is planning to launch the first unmanned mission as early as 2020.
In 2022, a second Orion capsule is scheduled to be launched, this time manned, on the Artemis 2 ship, standing out for having the first woman on the team to set foot on the lunar soil. Finally, in 2024, NASA predicts that astronauts will reach Earth's natural satellite and be able to stay there for at least a year.
NASA recently revealed that it is training a lunar rover to find deposits of icy water on the south pole of the Moon. The announcement came after it made known that the first SLS (Space Launch System) rocket in the Artemis program was already built ready for a test marathon.
The VIPERou Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover reached the Moon in December 2022, but by then, the vehicle is still learning to take its first steps at NASA's Simulated Lunar Operations Laboratory in Ohio, United States. The tests aim to make an assessment of the vehicle's traction mechanism and its wheels, to see if it has enough power to venture into the irregular lunar terrain.