The Artemis I mission, scheduled to lift off from Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, November 16 at 1:04 a.m. ET, is an unmanned test flight of NASA’s New Moon rocket — the Space Launch System, also known as the SLS — and the Orion crew capsule will take Artemis astronauts to the moon and back, starting with Artemis II.

Although no astronauts will be traveling on this mission, there are other items onboard to commemorate the occasion and conduct research to advance the Artemis program and other projects being worked on at NASA and other research organizations around the world. Read on for five things that hit a ride on the Artemis I mission.

1. Models

A view of Moonikin “Campos” secured in a seat in the Artemis I Orion crew module on the Space Launch System rocket in High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on 3/27/2022.

The next Artemis mission will have astronauts on board, so learning about what the journey into space will be like for future crews is an important part of Artemis I. Aboard the Orion spacecraft is a full mannequin (nicknamed Moonikin after public vote) equipped with dual radiation sensors and wearing a first-generation Orion Crew Survival System spacesuit. The seat that the mannequin will sit on will also have sensors (under the headrest and behind the seat) to record acceleration and vibration during the mission.

Also on board are two “phantom torsos,” mannequins with only a torso and a head — no arms or legs — sitting in two of the other seats on Orion as part of the Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE). Named Helga and Zohar, these phantom torsos will be used to measure the amount of cosmic radiation that astronauts may be exposed to inside the spacecraft during missions to the moon Assess radiation exposure reduction.

“Phantom torsos” used in the MARE experiment.

2. Items from the National Air and Space Museum collection

We are pleased to fly a number of small artifacts from the National Air and Space Museum collection as part of the Artemis I mission in the Official Flight Kit (OFK), a small memorabilia package. The objects flown in the OFK must necessarily be small and light, and the selection of objects proposed by the museum and approved by NASA reflects these criteria:

  • A bolt from one of the Apollo 11 F-1 engines recovered from the seabed a decade ago
  • An Apollo 8 commemorative coin made in part from metal from the Apollo 8 mission
  • A commercial mission patch of the Apollo 17 mission purchased at Kennedy Space Center in the 1970s

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A bolt from one of the Apollo 11 F-1 engines recovered from the seabed a decade ago

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The obverse of an Apollo 8 commemorative coin, made in part from metal from the Apollo 8 mission

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The obverse of an Apollo 8 commemorative coin, made in part from metal from the Apollo 8 mission

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A commercially available mission patch from the Apollo 17 mission

These items allow us to connect the history of the Apollo program to the future of lunar exploration.

3. CubeSats

The CubeSat team is working on the final processing of their payloads, which will fly aboard Artemis I.

NASA is taking this opportunity to conduct additional scientific investigations using small, shoebox-sized satellites called CubeSats. According to NASA, “In addition to their efficiency, low cost and compatibility with larger payloads, CubeSats also offer opportunities for increased scientific output and operational support for larger missions.” The 10 CubeSats on board Artemis I, used by space centers and universities around the world developed around the world will conduct science focused on the moon, sun, earth and more.

  • Lunar IceCube – Developed by Morehead State University in Kentucky, this CubeSat will use an infrared spectrometer to search for water in all forms during a seven-hour orbit around the moon.
  • NEA Scout – This Marshall Space Flight Center CubeSat will use a solar sail (deployed to 925 square feet) to travel to a near earth asteroid (NEA) and photograph it to determine its physical properties (shape/volume, rotational properties). , debris/dust field and regolith properties).
  • CuSP – This Southwest Research Institute CubeSat will be carried out of Earth’s atmosphere by the Artemis I mission and will orbit the sun once released. CuSP (CubeSat to study Solar Particles) will study solar radiation, solar winds and other solar events.

Learn more about the CubeSats on board NASA.

4. Tree seeds

NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement’s Next Gen STEM Project and the USDA Forest Service are collaborating to send a thousand tree seeds on the Artemis I mission. If this sounds familiar, you’re right: This project builds on the legacy of Apollo’s Moon Trees, trees planted across the country from seeds flown on the Apollo 14 mission.

The Artemis Moon Trees will contain five different types of tree seeds: Loblolly Pine, American Sycamore, Sweetgum, Giant Sequoia and Douglas Fir. Back on Earth, the Forest Service will germinate the seeds and begin planting the next generation of moon trees.

Learn more about Moon Trees in a recent episode of the AirSpace Podcast.

5. Snoopy Zero G Gauge

Snoopy, Artemis I’s zero-g indicator, gazes at his ride into space stacked on the SLS rocket in the Vehicle Assembly Building.

What would a mission be without a great zero-g indicator? Artemis I’s zero-g indicator, an item used to indicate when a spacecraft has reached microgravity zero-g, is a small Snoopy toy. Snoopy is a character long associated with NASA’s manned space programs – Snoopy lends his name to NASA’s Silver Snoopy Award (an award given to individuals by astronauts in recognition of exceptional work related to mission success and flight safety awarded by humans) and when Apollo 10’s Lunar Module was named Snoopy, he became the mascot of that mission. A Snoopy toy first flew into space on the Space Shuttle in 1990 Columbias STS-32 mission.

Related topics

unmanned spaceflight
manned spaceflight
moon (earth)


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