As a kid, I was always interested in space and rockets. I was a big fan of Estes and Centuri mail order model rocket manufacturers which sold model rockets that I would build and launch with solid propellant engines. I would study their catalog and save my money for the rocket that I wanted to order, and my parents would either write me a check or take me to the store to purchase a money order to accompany my order. I’d mail in my order for the rocket kit(s) and engines and other accessories and days/weeks later, the package would arrive in our mailbox. I’ve never seen a real rocket lift off (I’d love to - some day!) but it must be an amazing experience. I have watched many rocket launches on TV and streaming in my life.
Tomorrow morning, NASA will be back in the quest to go to the Moon and Mars with the launch of Artemis 1. If you’re not familiar with the Artemis program, here’s a good overview of the entire program.
Here’s a link to the Artemis 1 mission which is scheduled to launch tomorrow and last for approximately 42 days.
Being interested in the space industry, I’ve also been following SpaceX and BlueOrigin as well as NASA. So, I was interested in learning more about the Artemis program and did some snooping about the Launch Vehicles that will be used to launch the Orion capsule and cargo capsules over the next three years.
During the first couple of years, the program has been required by Congress to use the Space Launch System that is a NASA Launch Vehicle that is fully expendable. → https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Launch_System
The program will then use the Falcon Heavy and Falcon 9 Launch vehicles which are partically reusable.
Not until they get to the SpaceX Starship Launch vehicle will the entire launch rocket be reusable - 2025.
I get that NASA needs LOTS of time to test, validate, test again, etc. But I was pretty disappointed(?) in that NASA is so far behind in launch technology. Not only that, but we taxpayers are footing the bill for this outdated technology that Congress is mandating NASA use. Too bad NASA and Congress can’t get the same momentum that SpaceX and other space companies have been able to achieve.