Artemis IV
Artemis IV Mission profile as of April 2022.jpg
Summary of the Artemis 4 mission plan
Mission typeGateway Assembly, lunar landing
OperatorNASA
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftOrion (spacecraft)
I-Hab
Manufacturer
Start of mission
Launch date2027 (planned)[1]
RocketSLS Block 1B (Orion)
Launch siteKennedy Space Center, LC-39B
ContractorNASA
End of mission
Landing sitePacific Ocean (planned)
 

Artemis 4 (officially Artemis IV) is the fourth planned mission of NASA's Artemis program. The mission will launch four astronauts on a Space Launch System rocket and an Orion to the Lunar Gateway and the second lunar landing of the Artemis program.[2]

Overview

The main objective of the mission will be assembly of the Lunar Gateway. The mission will deliver the I-Hab habitat module, developed by the European Space Agency and the Japanese space agency JAXA, to the Gateway. The module will be docked with the first Gateway elements, the Power and Propulsion Element and Habitation and Logistics Outpost.

The astronauts will then board a Starship HLS docked to the station and descend to the lunar surface for a multi-day mission.[1]

Artemis IV will also be the first flight of the Block 1B version of the Space Launch System, which will replace the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage used on the first three Artemis missions with the more powerful Exploration Upper Stage.

Crew

ESA has indicated that their objective is that Artemis IV would be the first mission of an ESA astronaut to the Gateway.[3]

Mission Elements

Space Launch System

The Space Launch System is a super-heavy-lift launcher used to launch the Orion spacecraft from Earth to a trans-lunar orbit. This will be the first Artemis mission to use an SLS Block 1B rocket with an advanced Exploration Upper Stage for four upcoming missions until the proposed Artemis 9, which will use SLS Block 2 with advanced boosters.[4]

Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle

Orion is the crew transport vehicle used by all Artemis missions. It comprises the Orion Crew Module and the European Service Module and will transport the crew from Earth to the Gateway orbit, dock to the Gateway, deliver the I-Hab module to the Gateway, and return them back to Earth.[5]

Gateway

The Lunar Gateway Phase 1 orbiting the Moon
The Lunar Gateway Phase 1 orbiting the Moon

Gateway is a small modular space station to be established in Near-rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO) in late 2024.[6] The first two Gateway elements (Power and Propulsion Element and the Habitation and Logistics Outpost) will launch together aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy and spend a year spiraling out to the near-rectilinear halo orbit around the moon prior to Artemis IV.[7]

Human Landing System

Current Artemis IV mission plans call for use of the SpaceX Human Lander Sytem Option B configuration to support the lunar landing and return to Gateway phase of the mission.[8]

Mobile Launcher 2

The heavier total mass of the SLS Block 1B vehicle requires use of the Mobile Launcher-2 ground support equipment. Current development schedules and challenges experienced by the ML-2 contractor team in the design and delivery of the system have placed this GSE on the critical path from a schedule perspective.[9] Delays to ML-2 availability for use will delay launch of the SLS Block 1B variant. The NASA Office of Inspectior General (OIG) estimates the earliest that ML-2 will be available for Artemis IV is November 2026.[9]

References

  1. ^ a b Foust, Jeff (30 October 2022). "Lunar landing restored for Artemis 4 mission". SpaceNews. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  2. ^ Foust, Jeff (20 January 2022). "NASA foresees gap in lunar landings after Artemis 3". SpaceNews. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  3. ^ Foust, Jeff (26 September 2022). "NASA and ESA sign lunar cooperation statement". SpaceNews. Retrieved 12 October 2022.
  4. ^ "SLS Block 1 Crew, Block 1B Crew, Block 1B Cargo and Block 2 Cargo Evolution". NASA. 21 August 2020. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  5. ^ Rincon, Paul (10 November 2021). "NASA's Orion spacecraft: A guide". BBC. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  6. ^ Brown, Mike (15 March 2022). "NASA Lunar Gateway: Launch Window, Specs, and Orbit of the Moon's Space Station". Inverse. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  7. ^ Foust, Jeff (10 February 2021). "NASA selects Falcon Heavy to launch first Gateway elements". SpaceNews. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  8. ^ "Artemis 4 mission will still involve landing on the Moon". Universe Space Tech. 31 October 2022. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  9. ^ a b Smith, Marcia (9 June 2022). "NASA IG Slams Bechtel on Mobile Launcher 2". Space Policy Online. Retrieved 3 December 2022.