NASA is hard at work on a series of projects. The agency has finished the development of a giant rocket that will carry US astronauts into space and to the surface of the moon, announcing that the mission will take place in 2024. At 212 feet (or 65 meters), the size of the rocket is on par with that of a 20-story building. This trait makes the Space Launch System the tallest rocket in existence. Besides the impressive size, it is also the most powerful as it can reach Mach 23 before the Orion crew capsule leaves the upper stage.
The development process has been affected by a series of delays and cost overruns. Previous schedules noted that the first flight should be planned in November 2018. The initial cost was estimated at $6.2 billion, but it rose by 29%, and it reached $8 billion according to an internal audit that took place in June 2019.
According to Jim Bridenstine, the current NASA administrator, the achievement is quite essential, and it will pave the way towards successful missions in the future.
The Space Launch System For Future Moon Missions Is Completed, NASA Revealed
The Artemis initiative is quite ambitious as it features several objectives. Among them, we can count Artemis 3, a mission that involves a crew formed by a man and a woman. They should reach the south pole of the moon in 2024.
The Artemis 1 mission will begin in June 2020, and an uncrewed test will take place at first, to evaluate the safety and efficiency of the spacecraft. If everything goes according to the plan, NASA astronauts will survey the water ice found in the south pole of the moon. The water ice was uncovered in 2099, and NASA is confident that the astronauts will collect valuable data that can be employed for future missions.
NASA engineers are also working on devices that can convert the water into oxygen and hydrogen atoms, which can be used as rocket propellant.