Soar through space aboard a moon rocket in an epic new video.
New images from the launch abort system aboard Artemis 1, the first flight of NASA’s Artemis program, show the view from above as engines lift off for a lunar mission on Nov. 16. Billowing smoke and a receding launch pad fill the dizzying video seen, which looks directly at the ground below during the ascent. Moments later, the launch abort system jumps off the top of the rocket.
Artemis 1 carried 24 cameras aboard the Orion rocket and spacecraft, some of which still periodically transmit live images almost daily.
After Orion’s auspicious journey in the dark above NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the spacecraft continues its long lunar journey. The next stage will enter the moon’s orbit today (November 25); you can watch it live here on Space.com.
Orion is a human-rated spacecraft, but flies uncrewed with a trio of dummies and associated data collection systems to ensure the system is fully ready for humans on future missions. Radiation, vibration and other measurements will be assessed during the spacecraft’s planned 25-day journey past the moon and back to Earth.
In picture : A breathtaking view of the debut of NASA’s Artemis 1 lunar rocket
Yesiiiiiiiii! 🚀This video shows the @NASA_Orion Launch Abortion System (LAS), built by our engineers, jettisoned after the successful launch of @NASA_SLS! 🤯 pic.twitter.com/nsszEGnu5PNovember 24, 2022
The SLS had eight cameras on board to document the rocket’s liftoff, ascent and external environment during launch, according to NASA information. (opens in a new tab)with Orion carrying the other 16. These will all be used to assess how ready Orion and the rocket will be for future Artemis missions, which are expected to continue with the Artemis 2 crewed mission around the moon as soon as 2024.
The “rocket camera” view came courtesy of a camera mounted on the outside of Orion’s crew module adapter, which connects the spacecraft to the rocket. Later in the video, you can see the launch abort system jettison as intended, courtesy of a second camera mounted inside the Orion cabin, which was looking outside the top hatch window.
Apart from all those rocket and spaceship cameras, Orion has three other cameras that are being used as part of a technology demo for a space version of Amazon’s Alexa. Dubbed Callisto, the automated virtual assistant’s three cameras will be used “to test videoconferencing capabilities and may improve the public’s ability to imagine themselves inside Orion,” NASA officials wrote.
Elizabeth Howell is co-author of “Why am I taller (opens in a new tab)?” (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book on space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace (opens in a new tab). Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in a new tab) Where Facebook (opens in a new tab).