Desert Moonwalk: NASA’s Nighttime Simulation Paves Way for Artemis III

Moonlit Moonwalk

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Andre Douglas simulated lunar operations in Arizona under the JETT5 program, preparing for Artemis III. Credit: NASA/Josh Valcarcel

NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Andre Douglas participated in a nighttime simulated moonwalk in Northern Arizona as part of JETT5, aimed at rehearsing operations for the upcoming Artemis III mission. The test involved two teams: one conducting moonwalks in Arizona, and another providing support from NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

As part of the Joint Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility Test Team Field Test 5 (JETT5), NASA astronauts Kate Rubins, foreground, and Andre Douglas executed a nighttime simulated moonwalk in the San Francisco Volcanic Field in Northern Arizona on May 16, 2024. The test consisted of four simulated moonwalks that followed operations planned for Artemis III and beyond.

During the simulation, two integrated teams collaborated closely as they practiced end-to-end lunar operations. The field team consisted of astronauts, NASA engineers, and field experts in the Arizona desert conducting the simulated moonwalks, while a team of flight controllers and scientists at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston monitored and guided their activities.

At the conclusion of each simulated moonwalk, the science team, flight control team, crewmembers, and field experts came together to discuss and record lessons learned. NASA will take these lessons and apply them to operations for NASA’s Artemis missions, commercial vendor development, and other technology development.

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