What do the words you’ll hear as Artemis I launch to the moon mean?
Few things are more exciting than watching a spacecraft explode from the launch pad, as NASA’s Artemis I mission prepares to do on Monday.
But if you’re a casual observer, some things can be more confusing than hearing some of the terms used by the mission controller.
Celebrities and spectators from around the world will gather at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch the new Space Launch System rocket and the unmanned Orion spacecraft make its journey to the moon.
And for those who cannot attend in person, there will be a live broadcast on different platforms and it has been organized Watch concerts all over the country. Many people try to distinguish between LH2 and LO2 and find out what L is minus.
For those of you who aren’t NASA scientists or amateur astrophysicists, here are some of the terms you’ll hear during the historic launch and what they mean.
NASA aims to launch Artemis I between 8:33 and 10:33 a.m. ET on Monday, with backup windows on September 2 and 5 in case of bad weather or delays. If the launch is yes, then things are on the right track. If it is “no”, the launch can be postponed.
As the task teams count down, they will use phrases and acronyms that may be unfamiliar. Expect to hear “SLS” for the missile, rather than the Space Launch System, and “rating” to mean things are normal or go according to plan.
When the rocket is loaded with cryogenic (ultra-cooled) liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen for fuel takeoff, the abbreviation is “LO2” for oxygen and “LH2” for hydrogen.
The Artemis launch team is likely to mention “ICPS,” which stands for Intermediate Cooled Propulsion Phase. This will provide the upper part of the Orion rocket with the thrust it needs in space after two solid-fuel rockets and the main stage or backbone of the rocket separate from the spacecraft.
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