Monday, April 12, 2021

The Artemis program and NASA's proposed 2022 budget for Yuri's Night 2021

Happy Yuri's Night!* As I wrote five years ago, this is the day of the year when I celebrate the promise of space. This year, I'm returning to 2019's theme of the U.S. going back to the Moon and using it as a stepping stone to Mars. Watch Artemis I: NASA’s Plans to Travel Beyond the Moon.

Artemis 1 will be the first integrated test of NASA’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I will be an uncrewed flight test that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration, and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond.

During this flight, the spacecraft will launch on the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown. It will travel 280,000 miles from Earth, thousands of miles beyond the Moon over the course of about a three-week mission. Orion will stay in space longer than any ship for astronauts has done without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before.

With this first exploration mission, NASA is leading the next steps of human exploration into deep space where astronauts will build and begin testing the systems near the Moon needed for lunar surface missions and exploration to other destinations farther from Earth, including Mars.
That's just one mission. Here's the latest from NASA about the missions planned for the program so far, Artemis: We Are Focused.

Deep space exploration begins on American factory floors.

The launch of Artemis I will bring together the world’s most powerful rocket, NASA’s Space Launch System and the Orion Spacecraft, to prepare us to land the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface.
I'm 100% behind this, including the diversity and public relations goal of landing the first woman and person of color on the Moon. Just hope the Chinese don't get there first, or they will claim at least one of those.

The Artemis program needs money and NASA uploaded a video about its funding, NASA 2022: A Year of Innovation.

With a budget increase of more than 6% from the previous year, NASA will continue to boost its ingenuity in exploration, technology, aeronautics and science. This is a year of innovation.

This budget increases our ability to better understand Earth as a system –allowing us to tackle climate change in new ways. We will develop more climate-friendly aviation systems, like the X-57 Maxwell, and launch the James Webb Space Telescope that will enable groundbreaking research. Including a diverse and more inclusive workforce, we will continue pushing the boundaries of human exploration with Artemis, with goals of landing the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, as well as fostering our international and commercial partnerships that help to make it all possible.

We look forward to continuing our legacy of inspiring the nation and the next generation of scientists, engineers and explorers, who will help us accomplish the ambitious goals that we’ve set out for NASA.
For my reaction, I'm being a good environment and recycling what I wrote in NASA and '60 Minutes' on women in NASA for International Women's Day.
I'm glad that Joe Biden's Administration publicly supports the continuation of the Trump Administration's plans for space exploration. As I wrote five years ago and repeated the next year, "space policy is the one area where Trump might actually be good for the country" and "Trump's plan is actually not a bad idea." I was worried that the Biden Administration would dump the one Trump policy I supported along with all the ones I couldn't stand. I'm relieved that they didn't.
On top of which, this budget looks like it's giving me the rest of what I want from NASA, which I described five years ago: "I want more ambitious goals for both space exploration and climate monitoring along with people who understand science and technology in charge of both." Add in the X-57, which looks like it might actually make electrically powered human flight practical (drones have been using electric motors for more than a decade), and NASA is not just monitoring climate change, but doing something to reduce it. This Crazy Eddie approves.

While this is all good news, it's not enough to make me post Professor Farnsworth. After all, Artemis I hasn't launched and the 2022 budget has not been approved by Congress yet. Instead, I'm celebrating by embedding Lindsey Stirling Performs Artemis at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Artemis: the twin sister of Apollo and the name of our program to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024. In honor of Women’s History Month, musician Lindsey Stirling performed her song, Artemis, on top of the Launch Control Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. This video features facts about some out-of-this-world women at NASA and information about NASA’s Artemis program. The Artemis program will send the first woman and next man to walk on the surface of the Moon and build a sustainable base to prepare for missions to Mars and beyond.
I've posted Taylor Davis videos before, but I've never shared one by Lindsey Stirling during the first ten years of this blog. It's about time I corrected that omission.

That's it for Yuri's Night. Stay tuned for Apophis Day, when I report on the perils of space. I already have one video picked out.

*April 12 is the date when Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. In addition, today is the 40th anniversary of the first shuttle launch, which is why today is important for the U.S. space program as well.

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