The next astronauts heading to the moon are guaranteed breathtaking views as they approach the lunar surface in the crew module, NASA said this week.
The space agency’s Kathy Lueders has tweeted a photo (below) of a new window panel for the front of the Orion spacecraft that’s set to transport astronauts to the moon in four years’ time for the first lunar landing since 1972.
Lueder’s photo shows a cone panel with openings for large windows that will enable the stunning view. The spacecraft has been designed by Orion’s lead contractor, Lockheed Martin, with the panels manufactured by AMRO Fabricating Corp. of South El Monte, California. The completed panel is now headed for NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans, Louisiana, where engineers will weld it and other panels as part of Orion’s pressure vessel.
“It’s truly exciting to have the first piece of the Artemis III Orion spacecraft completed at AMRO that will enable American astronauts to build a sustainable presence on the lunar surface,” said acting Orion program manager Howard Hu.
#Artemis III astronauts will get an awesome view on approach to the Moon thanks to a newly completed window panel for the @NASA_Orion crew module. See the manufacturing process and hear about Orion progress: https://t.co/DPnm5jdZvq pic.twitter.com/4iDxCm5zw8
— Kathy Lueders (@KathyLueders) August 19, 2020
Currently scheduled for October 2024, the Artemis III mission will be the third flight of NASA’s Orion crew capsule following two test missions. The first, Artemis I, will perform an uncrewed fly-by of the moon in 2021. Artemis II, set for 2023, will mark the first crewed test, and will also involve Orion passing the moon without landing.
NASA has been hiring new astronauts for further Artemis missions throughout the 2020s and is currently operating various training programs to perfect the various scientific techniques that will enable the astronauts to effectively explore the lunar surface.
NASA says that human exploration of the moon via the Artemis program “offers a unique opportunity to test, refine, and perfect many of the technologies and complex operations that will be needed to land humans on Mars, perform their work on the surface, and safely return them to Earth.”
- See NASA’s visualizations of black holes for Black Hole Week
- NASA’s Psyche spacecraft almost ready for launch to weird metal asteroid
- James Webb Space Telescope to feature on new U.S. stamps
- NASA’s observatory on a plane, SOFIA, will fly no more
- Moon, Mars, and more: NASA extends 8 planetary missions