Meet Campos: NASA’s ‘moonikin’ will fly on first Artemis flight orbiting the moon

Campos will join Israeli and German ‘phantoms’ on Artemis 1 flight

A test dummy flying onboard NASA’s first Artemis flight around the moon will be named for an electrical engineer who helped the Apollo 13 astronauts survive their perilous spaceflight.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – A manikin flying onboard NASA’s first Artemis flight around the moon will be named for an electrical engineer who helped the Apollo 13 astronauts survive their perilous spaceflight.

NASA is planning to launch the Orion spacecraft on the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket from Kennedy Space Center launchpad 39B possibly as soon as this year. The flight will be known as the Artemis-1 mission, the first launch of NASA’s program named for Apollo’s twin sister to return humans to the lunar surface by 2024.

The spacecraft sans astronauts will have three anatomical models, known as manikins, onboard loaded with sensors to provide important data for the first Artemis astronauts. Not to be confused with a mannequin used to display clothing, a manikin is an anatomical model of the human body. NASA has dubbed its test model a “moonikin.”

The decision to name the moonikin Campos was made by the general public after the U.S. space agency created a March Madness-style bracket with other options including Delos, Ace, Duhart, Montgomery, Rigel, Shackleton and Wargo. After a final round with Delos, a nod to the island where Apollo and Artemis were born, Campos won the final vote.

Campos is named for Arturo Campos, the electrical power subsystem manager for the Apollo 13 lunar module. In 1970 when an oxygen tank on the Apollo 13 spacecraft blew leaving astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise stranded 200,000 miles from Earth, it was Campos and his team that came up with a plan to rework the whole electrical system, providing the command module with enough power to make it back to Earth.

In this April 15, 1970 photo made available by NASA, a group of flight controllers gather around the console of Glenn S. Lunney, foreground seated, Shift 4 flight director, in the Mission Operations Control Room (MOCR) of Mission Control Center (MCC) in Houston. Their attention is drawn to a weather map of the proposed landing site in the Pacific Ocean. At this point, the Apollo 13 lunar landing mission had been canceled, and the problem-plagued Apollo 13 crew members were in trans-Earth trajectory attempting to bring their crippled spacecraft back home. (NASA via AP)

“If it hadn’t been for the procedure Campos and his colleagues put together, it is likely the Apollo 13 mission would not be remembered as the ‘successful failure’ that it is today,” NASA wrote in a profile on Campos.

Campos was among the NASA team members awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Richard Nixon for bringing the astronauts home safely.

The moonikin flying in the late engineer’s namesake is a male-bodied manikin previously used in Orion spacecraft tests, according to NASA. It will be wearing an Orion spacesuit and sitting in the commander’s seat. Campos will also have two radiation sensors and additional sensors to record data from launch and throughout the mission.

Campos won’t be flying his journey around the moon alone. Two female-bodied model human torsos, called phantoms, will make it a non-human crew of three. “Zohar” and “Helga,” named by the Israel Space Agency and the German Aerospace Center, will provide lunar radiation data for the Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment, or MARE, experiment.

The data from the manikins on Orion will help NASA prepare to send the first astronauts around the moon in 50 years under the Artemis II mission.

During NASA’s Artemis I mission, two identical ‘phantom’ torsos named Helga and Zohar will be equipped with radiation detectors while flying aboard Orion. (Photo Credit: StemRad/NASA) (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)