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It’s Time To Get Fired Up About Artemis I’s Launch, the Next Moon Landing Finally in Sight

If you're too young to be a Baby Boomer, you grew up in an era where global space programs spent decades stuck in the proverbial purgatory that is Low Earth Orbit. To a certain set of people, no amount of space telescopes, space stations, and overly expensive reusable Space Shuttles would make up for not having our one step for man, one giant leap for mankind moment.
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If you haven't been paying attention, and we totally understand if you haven't, Artemis I, the first launch of a spacecraft system built for the purpose of interplanetary travel in decades, is set to launch its first un-crewed test flight on August 29th of this year. Followed by a crewed circumnavigation of the Moon following the same path as the first mission due in the proceeding 24 months.

That's right, everybody. The space race is back on, for real this time. It's time for the next generation of Americans to put their boots down on the surface of another heavenly body since the Apollo 17 mission departed the Lunar surface in 1972.

Using the enormous NASA Space Launch System (SLS), constructed with a great deal of re-purposed and upgraded Space Shuttle technology, the Lockheed-Martin Orion Command Module, Airbus/ESA service module, will launch on SLS's first live test in transit for a 25-day trip into orbit around the Moon via a trans-lunar injection burn and then back home again.

From there, scientists will closely study the vital spacecraft systems that will have to work flawlessly for a manned Lunar landing to be feasible. If all goes according to plans, a joint American-Canadian mission to land on the Lunar surface via the Gateway Lunar Space station may be in reach by 2025. For some of us who've been waiting our entire lives for this day to arrive, we think we can stomach waiting a few more years.

It'd be impossible to tell the story of Artemis I without explaining the five-decade-long gap between NASA Moon missions. It's been said that had the Nixon administration not cut all NASA funding apart from a few space probes and the Space Shuttle program, NASA's space architect Wernher Von Braun could have devised a mission to take mankind to Mars by the early 1980s using Apollo technology.

The United States even had a working nuclear fission engine undergoing testing in the 1960s as a potential power source for a manned mission to the Moon, Mars, and beyond called the Los Alamos Laboratories NERVA engine. Alas, because of the White House's short-sighted and neglectful stance toward the space program, Americans, and the entire world, as a result, were shackled to mother Earth, seemingly for good. As Congress canceled the Space Shuttle program wrapped up and NASA's Constellation program in the early 2010s, it appeared the era of manned space travel beyond Earth's orbit was well and truly gone forever.

But to those people who were too young to see Apollo, too young to remember a time when Americans were capable of herculean feats of engineering, Artemis possesses the potential to give the younger generations the defining signature moment. A luxury baby boomers have had the luxury of for decades. So if you're still under the illusion that the American space program is still "dead," let us refer you to that gigantic orange and white rocket ship sitting inside NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building as we speak.

This isn't the early 2000s anymore; It's time America's youth stood up and recognized that their time of triumph might be upon them. The time has come to seize the moment just as our grandparents did half a century ago. In doing so, the dream of our very one giant leap for mankind may finally be in sight. But it's not time to rejoice just yet. There's still plenty of work to be done.

 
 
 
 
 

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