Access to Orbit
The role of Artemis Project spacecraft Reference Mission starts and
ends in low earth orbit. To get up there, we use launch services developed outside the
A host of launchers are available
today, and many more are being developed, to get our hardware and crew into
earth orbit. The Space
Shuttle was selected as the launcher for the reference mission because,
although it is the most expensive launch system in the world today, it is
also the most capable man-rated launcher.
Current development of new lower-cost launchers in the United States and
other countries will most likely change the situation before the Artemis
Project reference mission is ready to launch. Until then the Shuttle is the
best vehicle which can satisfy all our mission requirements. Also, we are
being as conservative as we reasonably can in defining the reference mission. If costs and revenues balance using
the Space Shuttle, then they will look even better with a less expensive
Two launches put the components moon-bound spacecraft into low Earth
orbit, where the vehicle is assembled. Our crew goes up with the hardware
on the second flight.
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Updated Sat, Jul 31, 1999.