Artemis 1, officially Artemis I and formerly Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), is an ongoing uncrewed Moon-orbiting mission. As the first major spaceflight of NASA's Artemis program, Artemis 1 marks the return of the agency to lunar exploration as established by the Apollo program decades earlier. It is the first integrated flight test of the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. Artemis 1 was successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center on November 16, 2022, at 06:47:44 UTC (01:47:44 EST). Its main objective is to test the Orion spacecraft, especially its heat shield, in preparation for subsequent Artemis missions. These missions seek to reestablish a human presence on the Moon and demonstrate technologies and business approaches needed for future scientific studies, including exploration of Mars.
|Mission type||Uncrewed lunar orbital test flight|
|Distance travelled||1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometers)|
|Spacecraft type||Orion MPCV|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||November 16, 2022, 06:47:44 UTC (1:47 am EST)|
|Rocket||Space Launch System Block 1|
|Launch site||Kennedy Space Center, LC-39B|
|End of mission|
|Recovered by||USS Portland|
|Landing date||December 11, 2022, 18:06 UTC (10:06 am PST)|
|Landing site||Pacific Ocean off San Diego|
|Regime||Distant retrograde orbit|
|Flyby of Moon|
|Closest approach||November 21, 2022, 12:57 UTC|
|Orbital insertion||November 25, 2022, 21:52 UTC|
|Orbital departure||December 1, 2022, 21:53 UTC|
|Flyby of Moon|
|Closest approach||December 5, 2022, 16:43 UTC|
Artemis 1 mission patch
The SLS rocket launched from Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center with the Orion spacecraft aboard for a planned 25-day space mission. After quickly reaching Earth orbit, the upper stage separated and performed a trans-lunar injection (burn to the Moon) before deploying ten CubeSat satellites. The Orion spacecraft completed one flyby of the Moon on November 21, entered a distant retrograde orbit for six days, completed second flyby of the Moon on November 25. The Orion spacecraft is then planned to return and reenter the Earth's atmosphere with the protection of its heat shield and splash down in the Pacific Ocean. The mission aims to certify Orion and the Space Launch System for crewed flights beginning with Artemis 2. After the Artemis 1 mission, Artemis 2 is scheduled to perform a crewed lunar flyby and Artemis 3, a crewed lunar landing, five decades after the last lunar Apollo mission.
The Orion spacecraft for Artemis 1 was stacked on October 20, 2021, marking the first time a super-heavy-lift vehicle has been stacked inside NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) since the final Saturn V in 1973. On August 17, 2022, the fully stacked vehicle was rolled out for launch after a series of delays caused by difficulties in pre-flight testing. The first two launch attempts were canceled due to a faulty engine temperature reading on August 29, 2022, and a hydrogen leak during fueling on September 3, 2022.