NASA’s Moon-Bound Astronauts Prepare for Emergency Ahead of 2024 Launch

NASA’s Moon-Bound Astronauts Prepare for Emergency Ahead of 2024 Launch

Four astronauts are getting ready to travel to the Moon and back for NASA’s Artemis 2 mission, and the space agency is making sure that the crew is well-prepared in case things go wrong during the 10-day journey through space.

The Artemis 2 crew is undergoing emergency training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, practicing procedures on how to exit the Orion spacecraft. This week, NASA released a video of the astronauts sliding down from an Orion mockup in order to learn how to make their way out of the spacecraft in case of an emergency after Orion splashes down in the Pacific Ocean.

NASA astronauts Victor Glover, who will serve as pilot for the mission, Christina Koch, Reid Wiseman, and Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen, can be seen taking turns in the video posted on X (formerly Twitter) sliding down to safety.

The four-person crew exited from both the side and top hatches of the spacecraft should they be require to leave the capsule before the recovery team arrives to help them out of Orion post-splashdown.

The Artemis 2 mission is scheduled to launch in late 2024, carrying the four-person crew on a trip around the Moon and back. This crew will not land on the lunar surface, but will instead travel to the far side of the Moon at a distance of about 230,000 miles (370,150 kilometers) away from Earth.

Earlier this year, the crew began their 18-month training to prepare for the mission. During the training, the Artemis 2 astronauts will also learn how to operate the spacecraft. The first part of their training included learning how to use key systems on board the spacecraft for daily operations, as well as the different phases of the mission like the launch, entering lunar orbit, and traveling back through Earth’s atmosphere before finally splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. They will also practice using Orion’s crew displays, vehicle controls, and audio and imagery systems.

NASA is still working to resolve an issue with the Orion capsule’s heat shield, which is designed to protect the astronauts from extreme temperatures during a fiery reentry through Earth’s atmosphere. The space agency has made it clear that it will not launch Artemis 2 unless it figures out why the heat shield suffered more damage than it was supposed to during the Artemis 1 mission.

Want to know more about humanity’s next giant leap in space? Check out our full coverage of NASA’s Artemis Moon program, the new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft, the recently concluded Artemis 1 mission around the Moon, the four-person Artemis 2 crew, NASA and Axiom’s Artemis Moon suit, and the upcoming lunar Gateway space station.

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