Falcon Heavy Artemis Launch

NASA has just announced that Falcon Heavy will carry the first two modules (Power and Habitat) of the Lunar Orbiting Gateway into space. This space station will orbit Earth’s Moon and provide a waypoint for lunar exploration in the short term and build a Mars spacecraft in the long term.

This was actually announced several days ago, but I’ve been busy. Sorry.

As you can see from the press release, saying that it launches no earlier than May of 2024, we might not see folks land on the Moon in 2024 like the Trump administration wanted. That’s fine, so long as the Biden Administration doesn’t relax the timeline too much.

Let’s build a sustainable Lunar presence. Let’s leave behind more than just flags, footprints, and spent descent modules this time. I once argued with someone online who said that Falcon Heavy was not a lunar launcher. Well in THIS launch, it will send not just one but two space station modules into Lunar orbit on the same launch. Yes, rocket-grade kerosene is not the greatest fuel for the task…so what. It works, and it puts something into space in an orbit so high that will never end unless we want it to.

NASA has selected a Blue Origin-led team, Dynetics and SpaceX's Starship to develop new moon landers for astronauts for the agency's Artemis lunar program.

We will of course cover this launch if and when it happens, if I don’t die of old age first. 2024? really? SpaceX Starship, a much larger and more efficient platform, nearly as big as the Gateway itself, should be operational and fully tested and making Lunar launches by then, and capable of LANDING on the Moon.

I’m not complaining.

Falcon Heavy.

I needed to say it again.

Falcon Heavy.

Hear that Google? Trend it!

The first launch of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) is currently intended to carry an empty Orion Crew Capsule on a loop around the Moon. Then the second launch in the plan will carry the Lunar Gateway’s Service Module (provided by the European Space Agency) into lunar orbit. After that, the third flight is intended to carry a crewed mission to the surface of the Moon.

The Lunar Gateway will be much smaller than the ISS and will host astronauts for only 90 days at a time…kind of a Lunar orbiting SkyLab.

Image

~ by Bill Housley on February 11, 2021.

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