The Weekend Leader - 'Moonikin' flying around Moon on NASA named after Apollo 13 engineer

'Moonikin' flying around Moon on NASA named after Apollo 13 engineer



Photo: IANS

NASA has officially named the manikin launching on its Moon mission as "Commander Moonikin Campos" after Arturo Campos, a key player in bringing Apollo 13 safely back to Earth.

The Moonikin received its name as the result of a competitive bracket contest honoring NASA figures, programmes, or astronomical objects. NASA received more than 300,000 votes.

The manikin will fly aboard the Orion spacecraft during the Artemis I mission, an uncrewed flight test to launch the Space Launch System rocket and send Orion around the Moon and back to Earth.

"Our return to the Moon through Artemis is a global effort -- and we're always looking at new ways to engage the public in our missions. This contest, which is helping pave the way for a human return to the Moon, also honors an important individual in our NASA family -- Arturo Campos," said Brian Odom, NASA's acting chief historian at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

"It is a fitting tribute that the data gained from Artemis I will help us prepare to fly astronauts -- including the first woman and first person of colour -- to the Moon, where we will get ready for Mars," Odom added.

The other six names under consideration were: ACE -- for "Artemis Crew Explorer"; DUHART -- a dedication to Irene Duhart Long, chief medical officer at Kennedy Space Center from 2000 to 2010; MONTGOMERY -- dedication to Julius Montgomery, first African American to work as a technical professional at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, now known as Cape Canaveral Space Force Station; RIGEL -- a giant superstar in the Orion constellation; SHACKLETON -- a crater on the Moon's South Pole, which is named after famous Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton; and WARGO -- a dedication to Michael Wargo, NASA's first chief exploration scientist.

The Moonikin is a male-bodied manikin previously used in Orion vibration tests. Campos will occupy the commander's seat inside and wear an Orion Crew Survival System suit -- the same spacesuit that Artemis astronauts will use during launch, entry, and other dynamic phases of their missions.

Campos will be equipped with two radiation sensors and have additional sensors under its headrest and behind its seat to record acceleration and vibration data throughout the mission. Data from the Moonikin's experience will help NASA protect astronauts during Artemis II, the first mission in more than 50 years that will send crew around the Moon.-IANS

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