European astronaut worked out landing on the South Pole of the Moon

European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori has successfully worked out a soft landing procedure on the south pole of the Moon on a simulator. This region is considered as the most likely landing site for Artemis expeditions.

Simulator designed to practice the procedure of landing on the Moon. Source: DLR

The interest of space agencies in the south pole of the Moon is not accidental. The combination of craters, at the bottom of which there are deposits of water ice, and almost constantly illuminated areas (the so-called peaks of eternal light) makes it one of the best places to host a permanent settlement. 

At the same time, the combination of the Sun located “on the side” and eternally shaded craters significantly complicates the task of safe navigation in this region. It is not surprising that engineers have already begun to develop systems and techniques to ensure a safe landing at the South Pole.

As part of this process, astronaut Roberto Vittori, who has three space flights on his account, worked out the procedure for landing on the south pole of the Moon. To do this, he used a simulator built by the German Aviation and Cosmonautics Center. It consists of a capsule attached to a manipulator that is able to change its position, recreating the effect of any maneuvers. The capsule is equipped with virtual portholes showing the lunar surface.

Roberto Vittori. Source: DLR

During the training, Roberto Vittori worked out two scenarios. In the first, the autopilot steered the spacecraft into an area covered with boulders. The astronaut managed to successfully navigate and choose a safer site. In the second scenario, the spacecraft’s autopilot failed, after which Vittori landed in completely manual mode.

Recall that NASA recently announced its intention to build a second lander for the Artemis program.

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