NASA successfully completed the Artemis 1 mission in December, which was the first successful test of its new SLS rocket and Orion capsule without a crew. The agency has now progressed with its plans for a crewed moon mission. NASA reported on its website that it is evaluating data from the Space Launch System (the giant rocket used in Artemis 1) and preliminary results show that all systems performed exceptionally.
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center collected over 4 TB of data and 31 TB of images from cameras on the rocket. So far, the SLS rocket appears to have performed well, with the core stage inserting the Orion capsule into Earth’s orbit within acceptable parameters and engines with thrust and mixture ratios within 0.5% of predictions. The internal pressure and temperature of the engines were also within 2% of the expected values.
NASA still has much data to analyze before the scheduled May 2024 Artemis 2 mission, which is expected to carry four astronauts around the moon. However, the mission is becoming more likely to happen.