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#158 - Live at the Spacestore - Artemis

This week we had the pleasure of donning spacesuits and talking to a fab audience at the Spacestore in Didcot near Oxford, mostly about Artemis, with a few ramble chats along the way.

We got to try out the virtual experiences and see all the awesome stuff that is in the store...including Bishop's Finger and Helen Sharmen's Mars Ice Cream.

We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win”

John F Kennedy.


Because it’s really hard ...insanely hard.

Let’s start with the basics!

All rockets work using Isaac Newton’s laws of motion. Think of a balloon, when the air is allowed to be released through the nozzle then the thing flies around the room. In the opposite direction of the rushing air. Like the Ballon the fuel is limited.

What is going on? An unbalanced force, ie bigger than gravity, must be exerted for a rocket to lift off from a launchpad (first law). The amount of force (commonly called thrust) produced by the rocket engine will be determined by the mass of rocket fuel that is burned and how fast the gas escapes the rocket (second law). The reaction, or motion, of the rocket, is equal to and in the opposite direction of the action, or thrust, from the engine (third law).

So what’s the problem fill up with enough fuel and blast into space!!! Easy!!!


So you fill up with fuel, but most of the fuel is used up carrying the fuel, so you need more fuel, but then you need a bigger tank, so now you need more fuel to carry that up, but now you need to carry more fuel to carry that fuel and the tank that carried it!!! …….you get the picture. This is a nightmare. Stupid Tsiolkovsky ...thank a lot!!!

2 million tons of fuel or 763 Elephants, looks like quite a few of the poor buggers just to clear the launch pad.

Technology hasn’t changed anything!!! Americans are amazingly having to rely on the Russians to get their astronauts to space using a rocket pretty much the same as the rocket that took Gagarin up to be the first man in space.

Talkin of the Ruskies ...well the cold war is over and perhaps the biggest reason we went in the first place was America just had to beat the USSR to the moon. After that victory after years of space race losses, it was a fatal blow to communism.

Then the Budget ...NASA's budget peaked in 1964–66 when it consumed roughly 4% of all federal spending. NASA's budget for fiscal year (FY) 2019 is $21.5 billion. It represents 0.49%

And the Finally Boredom!! ...We’ve done it all before so why bother, also shouldn’t we do Mars now, but how do we do Mars ...let’s spend the next 50s years flip-flopping about on mars and never committing !!!

The Plan

  • Artemis 1 is planned to be the maiden flight of the SLS and will be launched as a test of the completed Orion, service module and SLS system. During the mission, an uncrewed Orion capsule will spend 10 days in a 60,000 km (37,000 mi) distant retrograde orbit around the Moon before returning to Earth.

  • Artemis 2, the first crewed mission of the program, will launch four astronauts in 2022 on a free-return flyby of the Moon at a distance of 8,900 kilometres (5,500 mi) the Power and Propulsion Element of the Lunar Gateway and three components of an expendable lunar lander are planned to be delivered on multiple launches from commercial launch service providers

  • Artemis 3 is planned to be the maiden flight of the SLS Block 1B and will use the minimalist Gateway and expendable lander to achieve the first crewed lunar landing of the program. The flight is planned to touch down on the lunar south pole region, with two astronauts staying there for about one week

The crew compartment of the uncrewed Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft will include two female mannequin imaging phantoms which will be exposed to the radiation environment along the lunar orbit, including solar storms and galactic cosmic rays. One phantom will be shielded with the AstroRad vest and the other will be left unprotected.

Thirteen 6u low-cost CubeSat missions will fly as secondary payloads on the Artemis 1

Possibly Not the Only mission like this that year!

In a rerun of Apollo 8 we have Artemis 2 hopefully by 2022, but probably 2023.

he first crewed spacecraft to leave low Earth orbit since Apollo 17 in 1972

Might Musk do #DearMoon in the meantime?


Artemis 3 is a planned 2024 flight of NASA's Orion spacecraft to be launched on the Space Launch System.

  • first crewed lunar landing since Apollo 17 in 1972

  • Lunar gateway but not as we know it! - As of May 2019, ESPRIT and the U.S. Utilization modules will fly on Artemis 4 instead, and Artemis 3 is intended to rendezvous with a minimal Gateway made up of only the Power and Propulsion Element and a small habitat/docking node with an attached commercial lander system.

  • The landing zone would be in the south polar region.

  • It is planned to have two astronauts on the surface of the Moon for about one week.

  • The mission is intended to be the first to place a woman on the Moon.

  • While up to four astronauts would leave Earth onboard Orion, the surface mission with the HLS will consist of two crew members, who will remain on the surface for 6.5 days.

  • The remaining astronauts will stay onboard the Gateway / Orion orbital complex.

  • The two astronauts will conduct up to four spacewalks on the surface of the Moon, performing a variety of scientific observations, including sampling water ice.

  • Before the Artemis 3 landing, some additional equipment will be pre-positioned on the surface, including an unpressurized rover for astronauts to use during their spacewalks.

  • This rover will have the capability to be controlled remotely. Several permanently shadowed regions could be reached by short forays of 5 km to 15 km, well within the range of the unpressurized rover

  • May 2019, NASA selected eleven companies to produce studies of a multi-element landing system that would be staged on the Lunar Gateway previous to the docking of the Artemis 3 crew.

  • These are termed "transfer element" (to low-lunar orbit), the "descent element" to take the crew down to the Moon's surface, and an "ascent element" that would take them back to the Gateway.

  • After Artemis 3, it is intended to make these systems reusable through refueling