America’s new hope for reaching the moon just launched.

The only passengers are “two female-bodied mannequins, named Helga and Zohar, developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) along with the Israel Space Agency. These are more accurately called “anthropomorphic phantoms,” and their job is to provide a detailed recording of the radiation environment inside the capsule over the course of the mission.”

No real people at this point. And it will only circle, it will not land.

But it is also carrying a bunch of CubeSats, which are small cubesats experiments about 4 inches on a side, weighing only a few pounds. People who want to perform an experiment in space, built their experiment into these cubes (they have to be automated), and they are launched into space hitchhiking on a rocket.

So there are a bunch of them.

But the vehicle will do a lot of maneuvers and prove itself.

  • Launch date: Nov. 16, 2022
  • Mission duration: 25 days, 11 hours, 36 minutes
  • Total distance traveled: 1.3 miIlion miles
  • Re-entry speed: 24,500 mph (Mach 32)
  • Splashdown: Dec. 11, 2022

Very exciting stuff. I want to go on the next one.

Here’s All the Science Hitching a Ride on Artemis I – A small fleet of CubeSats joins three mannequins, fungus, algae, and more on a trip to the moon and back

NASA site