The first unmanned test flight of the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft to the lunar orbit is planned for February 2022. This was announced at the conference by the head of the lunar program “Artemis” representative of NASA Mike Sarafin.
He said that the mission will be given a time window of 15 days. If the rocket is launched in the first half of this period, then the mission will be considered long and will last about six weeks. During this time, the ship will be mostly in retrograde orbit in order to prepare for the subsequent descent and water landing, said Mr. Sarafin.
“In case of a rocket launch in the second half of the allotted period, the mission will be considered short and will last four weeks,” said a NASA spokesman (quoted by Interfax). He added that the format of the mission and its duration depend on the launch day and the goals that the participants will set for themselves.
The United States announced the Artemis program back in 2019. Initially, landing on the moon as part of the program was planned for 2024. Three private companies took part in the competition for the development of a system for landing a man on the lunar surface under the Artemis program: Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin (which filed an application jointly with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper), and Dynetics. The contract was valued at $ 2.89 billion. NASA chose SpaceX, but Blue Origin protested this decision.
Details – in the material “Kommersant” “Hunters” Artemis “”.