Artemis I mission ready for launch, says Polish Space Agency

Credit: Adobe Stock
Credit: Adobe Stock

The Artemis I Moon mission, which aims to provide sustainable exploration of the Moon’s orbit and surface as well as prepare for the future exploration of Mars, is ready for launch, says the Polish Space Agency (POLSA).

Poland participates in the program and two representatives of the Polish Space Agency will be observers of the event directly at NASA's Kennedy Space Center near Cape Canaveral in Florida. POLSA experts will provide live commentary on the stages of the launch procedure.

The objective of the Artemis I mission is to test key program systems, including the SLS (Space Launch System) - the most powerful launch system since the time of the shuttles - and the Orion crew capsule designed to take astronauts to the Moon in the near future.

The operation of selected life support and safety devices will be verified using Moonikin - a moonlight mannequin named Campos, seated in the commander's chair. Campos was named after the engineer Arturo Campos, who significantly contributed to the success of the Apollo program, the man's first Moon landing. Campos will be supported by two other mannequins - Helga and Zohar.

Artemis I assumes the Orion capsule's flight around the Moon. The mission take several weeks, and the capsule will approach to about 100 km from the Moon’s surface. 

If the mission succeeds, the next launch in the Artemis program is planned for 2024. It will be a manned flight, but without a Moon landing. The flight with astronauts landing is scheduled for 2025.

The International preparations for the mission launch and the entire Artemis program included cooperation from the European Space Agency (ESA) responsible for the Orion service module, among other things. Poland is among 20 countries that are signatories to Artemis Accords, enabling active participation in the program. On October 26, 2021, President of POLSA Grzegorz Wrochna signed the Artemis Accords declaration during the International Astronautical Congress in Dubai.

According to POLSA, the Polish participation in the Artemis program opens a new area for the development of the domestic space sector. It will be necessary to create a lunar base, equipment for its operation and ensuring conditions for human presence in it. The Polish space sector can provide research instruments, measuring equipment, robotic and control components, including AI-based solutions. The means to search, acquire and process local raw materials to build bases will be in particular demand. This will be the beginning of space mining, which could become a new Polish specialisation. Polish universities are already starting to educate experts in this area.

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