“We’re ready!”: Final preparations for Artemis I mission to the Moon | Features


NASA is making final preparations for the launch of Artemis I later this month.

It’s the first flight of the space agency’s new SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft. It marks the beginning of a series of missions to return Americans to the Moon and eventually travel to Mars.

Our own Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville is the center for development, engineering and management of the missions and hardware that makes space travel possible.

At Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, their focus is on the human element—the people riding atop those rockets.

Those now include the new Artemis astronauts who will go on the next great outer space adventure and return to the Moon in a few years.

“No pressure!” Artemis I Flight Director Rick LaBrode chuckled. “We’re ready! We’re ready.”

LaBrode and his team are confident in their new SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft. It’s his job to make sure all goes according to plan from liftoff to splashdown.

“I got a great team, and these folks they’ve been working it with me. We have been building flight products for over 5 years, training for over 3 years, and now we’re ready to execute it,” LaBrode said.

Artemis I is an uncrewed test flight. If all goes well NASA’s newest astronauts are ready to climb into the capsule including Jasmin Moghbeli.

“When I first got the phone call, my hands were shaking. I was really excited,” Moghbeli recalled.

She credits Huntsville’s Space Camp with inspiring her dreams of space travel.

“I went to Space Camp. Then, a few years later I got to see a shuttle launch, so every few years I got to do something that kept that love for space alive,” Moghbeli said.

Training is well underway. The Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory is a giant pool that now contains a simulated lunar surface under water. State-of-the-art virtual reality programs let astronauts hone their skills operating robotic arms, performing spacewalks and docking spacecraft. Full scale mock ups of the new Orion capsule and Gateway Lunar outpost habitat module are also available at Johnson Space Center. All the tools needed to return to the Moon.

“I would love to walk on the moon and look back at the planet earth. That would be something,” Moghbeli said.

Artemis I is scheduled for lift-off on Monday, August 29 from Launchpad 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

WAAY 31will be there and bring you complete coverage of that historic event, along with a special report “The Next Giant Leap” on the Artemis missions.