Scottsdale company helping with communication system for Artemis I flight to moon

The unpiloted Orion spacecraft going to the moon for the Artemis 1 test flight has two...
The unpiloted Orion spacecraft going to the moon for the Artemis 1 test flight has two transponders developed by a team located in Scottsdale.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Aug. 28, 2022 at 8:38 PM MST
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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - As Artemis I launches, hundreds of employees from General Dynamics Mission Systems will be watching, but they won’t be celebrating until the Orion spacecraft begins its orbit around the moon. The unpiloted Orion spacecraft going to the moon for the Artemis 1 test flight has two transponders developed by a team located in Scottsdale.

Those transponders are like radios, allowing the spacecraft to communicate outside of earth’s orbit. “It will receive the messages through the antennas coming from earth and deep space network, and it’ll work with the computer on board,” said Chris Keeler, a General Dynamics Mission Systems’ Director of Space Avionics and Electronics Solutions.

The hope is that when Orion eventually takes its first astronauts into deep space, the radio will keep them and their spacecraft connected to mission command and the International Space Station. “This mission is carrying three mannequins, which is going to allow NASA to monitor the conditions in the crew capsule,” Keeler said. “That crew capsules condition will be broadcast back to earth so they can understand the temperatures and pressures and is this system ready to have humans on board for the next launch.”

It’s taken years to get the transponders ready for launch day. General Dynamics began working on them more than a decade ago. “Since 2008, hundreds of engineers and professionals have partaken in getting this design ready, and production took about 100 people once we were ready to build that final product,” Keeler said.

The Artemis I rocket is slated to lift off at 5:33 in the morning, Arizona time.