NASA: The inaugural flight of the Artemis program, which will take the Orion spacecraft around the Moon, will be unmanned. But the mission, scheduled to take off in November, powered by the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, will take several payloads into space.
The payloads include two miniaturized satellites (CubeSats) unveiled by NASA this Tuesday (27). One of them is Team Miles CubeSat, developed by Miles Space, which will use plasma thrusters to test the method in deep space, with the aim of setting a new record.
“The size of a bread box”, this CubeSat will be powered by propulsion using low frequency electromagnetic waves. A sophisticated on-board computer will drive the tiny satellite autonomously, while its radio system will communicate with Earth.
If successful, Team Miles CubeSat’s mission will travel farther than any ship of similar size has ever gone before. The team’s expectation is that the equipment will travel at least 96 million kilometers, almost double the minimum distance between Earth and Mars.
The other CubeSat newly introduced as part of the Artemis I mission is EquilibriUM Lunar-Earth point 6U (EQUULEUS). Developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in partnership with the University of Tokyo, it will travel to Lagrange Point L2, between the Earth and the Moon.
There, the tiny Japanese spacecraft will demonstrate trajectory control techniques between the Sun, Earth and Moon, in addition to recording images of the Earth’s plasmasphere, a region of the atmosphere charged with electrons and highly ionized particles. EQUULEUS will also measure meteor impact flashes and dust around the lunar environment.
Both miniaturized satellites will travel on Orion’s stage adapter, along with the other payloads. They will be deployed as soon as the spacecraft departs from the SLS.