👨‍🚀Meet the test crew launching on Artemis I mission

Manikins to test survival suit, equipped with radiation and vibration sensors

NASA is getting ready for another launch with the rollout of the Artemis I mission’s rocket on Tuesday — but this time, the Space Launch System’s next destination is expected to be the moon.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – With the Orion spacecraft sitting on launch pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center, the countdown is on for the anticipated August 29th launch of the Artemis I mission to the moon.

It’s a critical test flight for future missions into deep space.

Three crew members will be waiting in the cockpit of the spacecraft for nearly two weeks with no food or bathroom breaks. (Seems cruel and unbearable, right?)

Well, the crew members aren’t people, they’re manikins. (Before you come for me about using the term ‘Manikin,’ let me explain the difference: Mannequins are statue-like forms representing the human body typically used for fashion. You know, the statues you see inside clothing stores. Manikins also represent the human body, but are more realistic in that they simulate skin, shape and properties of the human body. ‘Manikin’ is the preferred term by researchers and health training organizations, and in this case, when the forms are simulating human Astronauts.)

Now that we have that explanation out of the way, let’s meet the manikin crew.

Commander Moonikin Campos

Artemis I Manakin 'Moonikin Campos' named after Arturo Campos (Credit: NASA) (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Moonikin Campos will be sitting in the commander’s seat onboard the Orion spacecraft.

The public actually chose his first name ‘Moonikin’ in an online bracket contest that Nasa held in June. More than 300,000 people voted in the naming contest.

What you may not know, is that Moonikin’s last name, Campos, honors late Apollo engineer Arturo Campos.

Campos is credited with creating procedures that helped Apollo 13 astronauts survive a 1970 attempted mission to the moon. On the way to the moon, the mission has a loss of power after a fuel cell explosion. Campos created a solution that allowed the astronauts to make a safe return to Earth.

Moonikin is equipped with a ‘survival suit’ that also has radiation, acceleration and vibration sensors.

That data will help Nasa better prepare and protect astronauts in future Artemis missions to the moon and beyond.

Helga and Zohar

Artemis I Manikins (Credit: NASA) (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

The other travelers, Helga and Zohar are manikin torsos manufactured from advanced materials that mimic human bones, soft tissues and organs of an adult female.

They are fitted with more than 5,500 passive sensors and dozens of radiation detectors to measure exposure during the mission.

Zohar, the manikin on the bottom is wearing a radiation protection vest and Helga will be traveling in her ‘birthday suit.’

It’s all to study the effectiveness of the vest that astronauts may be able to use for protection during solar storms.

It’s just a few of the many pieces of technology being tested during the flight to help with future crewed missions.

We’re hoping for a safe and successful flight test for the crew of manikins around the moon.

The launch window for Artemis I opens August 29th at 8:33 a.m. and will last for two hours.

Want to see the launch yourself? News 6 is giving away two VIP tickets to an Insider to get a front row seat from Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor’s Complex. The contest ends Tuesday, August 23.

We also compiled a list of best launch viewing spots from the Space Coast HERE.

About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a morning news anchor who joined the News 6 team in 2020.