Artemis, a NASA program intended to return humans to the moon for the first time since 1972, recently took a significant step forward with the successful completion of tests on the Orion Launch Abort System motor in the desert near Promontory, Utah.
Sitting atop the Orion spacecraft, the abort motor is designed to increase astronaut safety during a failure on the launchpad or the initial ascent.
This detailed simulation of the abort system’s deployment provided important data during development, with colors representing relative exhaust gas velocity magnitude. This translates into an understanding of vibration, heat, and other factors with the potential to impact the survival of astronauts in the attached escape capsule.
The Artemis program is now on schedule to achieve a landing at the lunar south pole in 2025, laying the foundation for the Lunar Gateway project and subsequent human-crewed missions to Mars in the 2030s.