Science

Relics of Apollo 11 among 10,000 mementos flying during the Artemis 1 lunar mission

A small lunar sample and part of the rocket that made it possible to assemble it more than 50 years ago are to be launched as part of NASA’s next mission back to the moon.

Apollo 11 artifacts are part of the official Artemis 1 Flight Kit (OFK). (will open in a new tab). These are just two items in OFK, which was filled with almost 10,000 souvenirs flying for NASA, its partners and contractors aboard the upcoming mission to the moon.

A practice dating back to Apollo 17—the last time NASA sent astronauts to the moon in December 1972—the OFK is a package of a certain size and weight used to carry memorabilia and tokens of gratitude to those involved in the cause. appointment. OFK is the counterpart to PPKs or personal preference sets that astronauts carry around with small items for their family and friends.

Artemis 1 flies without a crew, but OFK is still an important team. The mission is the first integrated test of NASA’s Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. (will open in a new tab), a precursor to future astronaut missions to the moon. Thousands of people working on the ground have been and will be required to make this flight a success. Artemis 1, which will last more than a month, will travel further into space than any previous mission estimated by humans and enter a deep retrograde orbit before returning to Earth.

Related: NASA Artemis 1 lunar mission: live updates

From the moon to the moon

“Neil Armstrong got some very small pieces of Wright’s craft to the moon aboard Apollo 11, and we have them in our collection, so it’s a tradition we’re part of to fly into space, especially with the ability to make that connection.” between the history of lunar exploration and what is being done now,” said Margaret Weitekamp, ​​chair of space history at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, in an interview with collectSPACE.

While the Apollo 11 lunar dust (“lunar sample button”) is flying on behalf of the NASA Communications Administration, the “Apollo 11 F-1 engine detail” is provided by the Smithsonian Institution.

A bolt from one of the five Saturn V F-1 engines that powered Apollo 11 in July 1969 is included in the official flight kit (OFK) for the Artemis I flight.

A bolt from one of the five Saturn V F-1 engines that launched Apollo 11 in July 1969 is included in the official flight kit (OFK) flying Artemis 1. (Image credit: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum)

“When we say we’re flying on a part of an F-1 engine, it’s actually a propeller or bolt removed from the Apollo 11 F-1 engine,” Weitekamp said. The ‘engine part’ of the F-1 appears to be much larger than it really is, and by necessity it must be something small, very light and inert.”

In 2013, a private expedition led by Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos discovered and salvaged several F-1 engines from the ocean floor. After mothballing, the engine, identified as belonging to the Saturn V rocket that launched Apollo 11, has been donated by NASA to the National Air and Space Museum, where it is to be displayed as part of a new exhibition. (will open in a new tab) in October. Nut, screw and washer from this engine.

In addition to the F-1 pieces, the museum also has a medallion commemorating the first flight of Apollo 8 around the Moon in 1968 and an embroidered Apollo 17 patch.

“We searched the collection to find things that we thought were the right combination of being really meaningful and would have been increased in importance by being included on this flight, but were not things that were not also somewhat duplicated in the collection. non-flying things that we consider quite unique and therefore a big risk if put on something like a launch,” Weitekamp said.

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Patches and pins and a feather

The vast majority of objects of the OFC “Artemis-1” are memorable souvenirs intended for presentation after the flight to employees of space programs and high-ranking officials. Of the over 9,900 items in the set, 2,790 are Artemis 1 mission patches. (will open in a new tab) one.

There are also lapel pins, tags, and a host of flags—the latter flown for the United States, its individual states and territories, NASA’s military branches and programs, and the space agency’s international partners.

There are items to create even more memorabilia after the mission is completed. The Orion, SLS and Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) programs are metal chip flying bags that were made during the production of their respective vehicles (mobile launcher in the case of EGS).

Engraved with the names of nearly 30,000 people who worked on Artemis I, the microchips are part of the mission's official flight kit.

The microchips, engraved with the names of the nearly 30,000 people who worked on Artemis 1, are part of the mission’s official flight kit. (Image credit: NASA/U of Houston/Long Chang)

However, as with Apollo 11, the standout items in OFK are those that link the Artemis 1 mission to other aspects of humanity.

  • LEGO minifigures with oven (will open in a new tab) and doll “Shaun the Sheep” (will open in a new tab) represent NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) educational outreach projects, respectively. Similarly, on board is a quill from Charles Schulz’s studio wrapped in a space-themed Peanuts comic, as well as a Snoopy doll in a one-of-a-kind space suit. (will open in a new tab). (The latter is not part of OFK, but serves as an indicator of the mission’s weightlessness.)
  • NASA is also taking away 90 Girl Scout Space Science Achievement Badges to be awarded to the winners of the To the Moon and Back essay contest.
  • There are five USB sticks and 60 microchips containing names, poems, images, drawings or videos submitted by students, faculty, staff working on Artemis 1, and members of the public, collected by NASA, ESA, DLR (German Aerospace Center). and ASI (Italian Space Agency).
  • The Israeli Space Agency, which is part of the international team operating two torsos with instruments to study radiation exposure during the Artemis 1 mission, is also among the organizations flying tree seeds, including NASA, the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Boeing.
  • Israel is also carrying a mezuzah (a small piece of parchment in a decorative case on which certain Hebrew verses are written) and a stone from the Dead Sea. ESA packaged a 3D printed image of the Greek goddess Artemis and a postcard of “Le Voyage Dans la Lun” (“Journey to the Moon”), a landmark 1902 short film directed by Georges Méliès.

Click to collectSPACE (will open in a new tab) to read the full manifest of the Artemis 1 Official Flight Kit (OFK).

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