SpaceX plans to land on the moon in 2023, a NASA official says

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After the successful crash of the Orion spacecraft in the Pacific Ocean, NASA Administrator and former Senator Bill Nelson shared that his agency plans to go to Mars by the end of 2030. Senator Nelson struck an optimistic tone after NASA made a remarkable Artemis 1 mission, the remarks were made during a conference journalist after the shooting, where he also shared details of SpaceX’s lunar lander. The event was attended by several agency officials, including Michael Sarafin, NASA’s Artemis 1 mission manager, who shared his final thoughts on Orion’s performance as it entered Earth at breakneck speeds for a successful landing.

Orion presented no problems during re-entry, a NASA official specifies

On its journey to the Moon and back, Orion has performed better than NASA engineers initially expected. The spacecraft’s power generation, which is done through solar panels, generates more power than expected. As part of the mission, NASA added additional test targets to confirm the vehicle and learn more about its performance for future missions. The next Artemis mission will include a crew, and NASA will not only use the data for the next mission, but also make changes to the ship.

These changes will include the manual controls, life support system, and display screens – all of which will enable the crew to monitor and control the spacecraft. However, the crew’s spacecraft will reuse several components from the ship that just landed today. These include antennas, controllers, and GPS receivers.

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After landing today, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson revealed that his agency plans missions to Mars by the end of the 2030s.

President Obama first announced the goal of going to Mars. It was thought at the time that it would be around 2033. But that was twelve years ago. Now, the more realistic target is the end of the 2030s. But a lot of this is going to depend on new technologies, and being able to support humans for a long period of time along the way. Part of that will be how fast we can get to Mars with a crew. And so, we finally broke through to the OMB on nuclear thermal propulsion and nuclear electric propulsion research. I think Congress will support that. New technologies get us there faster. And that’s why we set a goal in the late 2030s to go to Mars. And then we go further.

The crew prepares for Gemini clouds at 4:43 p.m. EDT on December 11, 2022. Photo: NASA

Official Nelson also shared important details about SpaceX’s lunar lander. This is the only vehicle chosen by NASA to land humans on the moon as part of the Artemis program. Commenting on Starship’s progress, he revealed that:

I ask the question all the time Jim Free will Starship meet all the standards, timelines, the answer is up to me and yes, in some cases, it exceeds. I’ve been to Boca Chica. It is a sight you must see. How do they put those stars together and then the big booster. And their plan is that they’re going to do some test flights there. Once they have confidence, they will bring the missions to the head, and until they have their permanent board on the head, they will start from the one they are building now, that is, on the outer periphery of Pad 39A. You know, you’re developing a new vehicle, a new missile. You can expect some delays, but so far I have been told they are on schedule.

Their plan is to make an uncrewed landing on the 23rd, late 23rd, a year from now! And then doing the crew landings in the late 24th. So glides are always possible because it’s a brand new system, but they’ve been very cool at what they’ve done with the other systems.

NASA’s Artemis 1 mission manager, Michael Sarafin, also shared the spacecraft’s final performance during today’s re-entry and landing. He explained that:

In terms of unforeseen elements during re-entry, I don’t track any issues associated with separation of the crew and service module, reorientation of the spacecraft at the entry interface attitude, for aerodynamic capture, and the entire skip profile. We had two long blackouts as far as I can remember, each over six minutes. We’ll take a look at the post-mission data recorders after the capsule is brought back to shore to see if there’s anything associated with it. Early on, however, the car hovered on re-entry skipping just fine. The entry guidance system was localized, as Howard had previously pointed out, relative to the target landing site. We got off within sight of the recovery ship, and the car was clean after the crash. All operating bags that protect in the event of a capsule tipping over, should be upright automatically. All 5 bags inflated, and the car shut off successfully with no leaks, hazards, or anything like that.

The team, as part of the flight test objectives, left the vehicle powered up for two hours after the fluid was sprayed to collect heat absorption data again; As we passed through Earth’s atmosphere, the rover saw temperatures outside of it near 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This soaks back into the bodywork, we’ve been collecting data by powering up the ocean’s surface. All of that was good, all parachute deployments were good.

NASA will now evaluate data from Orion over the next two months to make final conclusions about its performance. It aims to pick up the Artemis II crew early next year.

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