CLEVELAND — After years of research and testing Wednesday morning Nasa officially launched Artemis 1, making history with Ohio playing a big part.
“So many hundreds of thousands of pounds of thrust, the low frequencies, shake your body and then seeing it visually is just a remarkable experience. So, at this scale it moves you personally, it's very hard not to be moved,” said Bryan Smith, the director of Facilities Testing Manufacturing at the NASA Glenn Research Center.
Artemis 1 is just one step in the plan to get humans back to the moon for the first time in half a century.
“Artemis 1 is un-crewed, and this allows us to really test out the systems, maybe in a way we would not do with astronauts on board,” Smith said.
Instead, there are dummies on board to test radiation and several things.
The trip will take 25 days with three days of travel to get to the moon, then 19 days orbiting the moon. While in orbit, pictures and videos will be taken. Then the craft will make its way back to earth.
But even though Wednesday’s launch took place in Florida at 1:47 a.m., the project has ties to Ohio.
“We like to say the path to the moon and mars comes through Cleveland,” said Scott Graham, the associate director of the spaceflight systems directorate at the NASA Glenn Research Center.
A lot of research to get Artemis off the ground happened here in Ohio.
“Here in Cleveland, our role has been to work on the development of the Orion capsule, which sits on top of the large vehicle and with that there's a service module and the service module delivers the power and the propulsion,” said Smith.
Here’s a list of Ohio’s contributions:
- Glenn performed five tests on Orion and space environment testing at Neil Armstrong Test facility in Sandusky
- Engineering and analysis work during space launch system development
- Building a component of the more powerful SLS Block 1B
- Managing the Orion spacecraft’s service module with our partners at the European Space Agency and Airbus. The service module is the spacecraft’s powerhouse, supplying electricity, propulsion, thermal control, air, water, and other life-support systems.
Ohio has played a big role in space for decades, including being the home state for Neil Armstrong and John Glenn, 25 astronauts have come out of state going on 80 space flights with three being trips to the moon. With the new mission of Artemis 1 several Ohio team members are working down in Houston and Florida.
“Some are sitting on consoles somewhere. It's supporting the mission from the engineering room there and watching the data,” said Josh Freeh, the manager of the human exploration and space operations project at the Glenn Research Center.
If Artemis 1 is successful, then 2 and 3 will follow each with a bigger goal in mind.
“The next big objective and destination for humankind is after we send humans back to the moon, we're going to send humans to mars,” said Graham.
Even while Artemis is in space, research at Glenn is already underway for future moon missions.
“The plan is to build an infrastructure on the moon. Cleveland will be responsible for building out the power system, which of course was completely necessary for any continued development,” said Smith.
This makes sure Ohio is a part of the next step in space history.
After it’s flight, the Artemis 1 Orion Spacecraft will return to the Armstrong Test Facility for a series of launch abort system tests in preparation for Artemis II.
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