Frequently Asked Questions
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Is the International Space Station important to the Artemis Project?

The International Space Station program adds significantly to our chances of success. While it might be possible to develop the Artemis Project space vehicles and conduct the reference mission scenario without the space station, we really would rather not leave home without it. There are several reasons for this.

Without a space station, it is extremely unlikely that low-cost, man-rated launchers will be developed any time in the near future.

The Artemis Project's vehicles and moon base are based on using designs and technology developed for the International Space Station Program and earlier spacecraft. The space station is especially important because, for the first time, systems are being developed which the crew can maintain permanently; all previous spacecraft were designed to be thrown away or serviced on the ground. Elements of most the space station's systems will serve as the basis for the Artemis Project spacecraft, including:

We can apply the technology developed for the International Space Station directly to the Artemis Project spacecraft with very little modification, with a dramatic reduction in the project's costs.

The original reference mission scenario calls for using the International Space Station as a staging base for the flight to moon. We could perform the mission during a single Shuttle flight, with the Shuttle loitering in low Earth orbit while Artemis flies to the moon and back; but the time windows are very tight. Or we could build our own servicing facility in a low-inclination orbit, with some increase in our program cost. Artemis Project Earth Orbit Servicing Facility We are still studying whether this option would cost less than using the space station as a staging base. In any case, the technology developed for the International Space Station can make or break the financial considerations for the lunar base program.

A space station allows the Artemis Project spacecraft to be assembled and checked out in low Earth orbit, where they can wait for replacement hardware to arrive if need be. It also provides an orbiting base for the Lunar Transfer Vehicle.

Finally, the primary mission of the International Space Station is vital to the outlook for long-term development of space. Scientific research on the effects of prolonged weightlessness on people, plants, and animals will teach us how to protect the health of those who live in space. We don't know how the experience of weightlessness will compare to the 1/6 gravity of the moon; but if the problems are solved on the space station, they will be solved for all space travel ventures to come.

To learn more about the International Space Station program, visit NASA's offical web site at

Frequently Asked Questions

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