May 15th, 2023
The European Service Module for the crewed Artemis 2 mission to the Moon has completed acoustic testing in Florida.
This is the service module that will be attached to the Artemis 2 Orion capsule when it sends four astronauts to the Moon in late 2024. Built by the European Space Agency, it will provide power, cooling and propulsion for the mission. Acoustic testing is performed to show it can handle the rigors liftoff atop a Space Launch System rocket.
“During the testing, engineers surrounded the service module with large speakers and attached microphones, accelerometers, and other equipment to measure the effects of different acoustic levels,” NASA said in a blog post.
Testing occurred at the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The agency said engineers and technicians still have to analyze the data collected.
The Orion capsule itself is still undergoing final assembly, also at Kennedy Space Center. Once completed, both the capsule and service module will be integrated. This is expected later this year, according to NASA.
Besides the Orion capsule, the only other major piece of hardware under construction for the Artemis 2 mission is the 212-foot (65-meter) tall SLS core stage. It’s currently undergoing final assembly at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.
NASA expects to ship the SLS core stage to Kennedy Space Center as soon as October. The booster segments for the rocket are also expected to arrive in the second half of 2023. The agency plans to begin stacking the massive rocket during the first half of 2024.
Artemis 2 will see NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover and Christina Koch, as well as Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen, test Orion’s systems in high Earth orbit before performing a free-return flight around the Moon. Their roughly 10-day mission is expected to launch as early as November 2024.
Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a website about human spaceflight called Orbital Velocity. You can find him on twitter @TheSpaceWriter.