The UK Welcomes The Launch Of Artemis I

17th Nov 2022
The UK Welcomes The Launch Of Artemis I

On 16th November, at 6.47 am, NASA’s Artemis 1 Space Launch System took off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. The uncrewed Orion capsule successfully departed toward the Moon. The UK Space Agency welcomed NASA’s successful launch of their rocket.

Technical issues put to bed

This is the third attempt to launch Artemis I. The first attempt was on 29th August. However, technical issues prevented this from happening. A subsequent launch on the 3rd of September was also aborted for the same reason.

Hurricane Ian then arrived, so the rocket was rolled back from the launchpad to avoid this. 

The beginning of the NASA-led Artemis programme

The launch marks the start of the Artemis programme, which the United Kingdom is a part of via the European Space Agency Human and Robotic Exploration Programme. The objective here is to see humans return to the Moon. 

The European Space Agency is a key partner in this programme. They are delivering parts of the Moon-orbiting Lunar Gateway and Orion’s European Service Module.

National Space Champion David Morris MP has commented:

“Gene Cernan, who was the last man to walk on the Moon, told me that one day we will return, and I’m proud to say the UK will have a part to play in that return by contributing to the Artemis programme nearly half a century after Gene left the surface of the Moon.”

Goonhilly providing comms support for NASA Artemis

Back in August, Goonhilly revealed that they would be providing communications support for Artemis I. They tweeted the following this morning in light of the launch:

Goonhilly is working with the European Space Agency and its Estrack deep space antennas so they can track up to six of the 10 CubeSats used in the mission, as well as receiving signals from Orion. 

Head of Space Exploration at the UK Space Agency, Libby Jackson, said:

“It’s also exciting to see this mission being tracked in the UK from Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall, marking a major step for our capacity to offer commercial lunar communications from the UK.”

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