NASA's Artemis 2 mission moves one step closer and the Orion spacecraft prepares to transport astronauts into space. Artemis 2 is set to hit the market sometime in 2023 and will be the US Navy's deepest manned voyage to the solar system. As you might expect, NASA does not take any risks in terms of security.
We have already seen some of the dramatic early stages of this security process. For example, the Ascent Abort 2 test in 2019 put Orion's start-up system through its paces. As a result, the spacecraft was mounted on a rocket and airlifted six miles before the demolition sequence was triggered and the crew module was taken to safety.
Next is Orion's Launch Control System (ACM) attitude control engine. This was tested by Northrop Grumman, who manufactures the system for NASA, at his plant in Elkton, Maryland. It is designed to work in sequence with the demolition motor tested in the first test.
Should something go wrong at the start, the demolition engine first separates the rocket and the crew module quickly from each other. The ACM then weighs in to control and orient the capsule. Finally, the launch engine fires to disconnect Orion's launch abort system and allow the parachutes to operate safely.
As you might expect, these are a lot of highly timed actions, and all of this has to happen quickly if the astronauts on board are to survive and return to Earth. The good news is that the thirty-second process of the second part of this process went smoothly. NASA says the ACM was able to generate more than 7,000 pounds of thrust spread across its eight valves.
That's enough to "steer Orion and his crew to a safe distance," explains NASA. "All three engines will be certified for future crewed flights after qualifying tests are completed later this year."
Artemis 2 is a big step for NASA. While astronauts will not land on the moon, it will be a valuable test to see if the methodology used by the space agency for this mission is in effect. Launched with a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the Orion orbits the earth twice, fires its engines regularly, and builds up enough speed to carry it to the moon.
The process is repeated on the moon, albeit cut off. Orion circles the moon once and uses the gravitational force of the Earth's satellite to hurl it back. In this way, the spaceship does not have to rely on the drive. How long this will take can be set relatively flexibly, from a minimum of eight days to a maximum of three weeks, to give NASA the opportunity to conduct further experiments and gather new moon imagery for future landings.