NASA's 'Moonikin' mannequin boards Orion spacecraft for Artemis 1 moon mission

NASA technicians load the "Moonikin" mannequin in an orange spacesuit through the Orion space capsule hatch.
NASA technicians load the "Moonikin" mannequin in an orange spacesuit through the Orion space capsule hatch on July 27, 2022. The mannequin will measure the deep space environment around the moon during Artemis 1. (Image credit: NASA)

NASA has completed the next steps in the Artemis 1 mission — installing the data-gathering mannequin Commander Moonikin Campos inside the Orion spacecraft that will launch to the moon atop a brand-new megarocket. 

In a tweet posted on July 27, NASA's Exploration Ground Systems team announced that Campos has been successfully installed into the Orion Capsule — which is atop the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for the Artemis 1 mission around the moon. Liftoff is currently targeted for Aug. 29.

Moonkin Campos — named after Arturo Campus, an electrical engineer who was a key player in bringing the Apollo 13 mission safely back to Earth — is a human-sized test dummy that is now strapped into the commander's chair at the head of the capsule. 

Related: NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission: Live updates 

During the mission, Moonkin will provide NASA scientists with vital data on what future human crew members may experience during flight. Artemis 1 is NASA's first launch test of the Space Launch System megarocket and an uncrewed test flight to the moon for NASA's Artemis program. The data from Moonikin will help NASA prepare astronauts who will fly around the moon on the Artemis 2 mission in 2024 and the Artemis 3 astronauts who will eventually land on the moon.

"He will measure vibrations and accelerations that future NASA Artemis astronauts will experience," NASA's Exploration Ground Systems tweeted.

These vital measurements will be collected by two sensors placed behind the commander's seat and under the headrest which will record the acceleration and vibration generated throughout the mission to the moon. Campo is also equipped with two radiation sensors to measure exposure. 

NASA's Moonikin Campos will wear NASA's new Orion spacesuit during its launch to the moon on the Artemis 1 moon mission. (Image credit: NASA)

Also along with donning important sensory hardware, Campos is sporting the latest flight wear fashion — the First-Generation Orion Crew Survival System spacesuit. The same orange pressure suit that astronauts will wear during future launches and re-entries. 

Campos will not be alone during the Artemis 1 mission and will be accompanied by two other mannequin "passengers" — Helga and Zohar — who will be installed aboard Orion in the coming weeks. These two limbless phantom mannequins are a part of the Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE), which will record data about radiation levels during the mission to the moon. 

The mannequin trio is set to ascend beyond Earth's atmosphere and head to the moon as part of the Artemis 1 mission which is targeted to launch on Aug. 29.  

Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or on Facebook

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Scott Dutfield

Scott is a staff writer for How It Works magazine and has previously written for other science and knowledge outlets, including BBC Wildlife magazine, World of Animals magazine, and All About History magazine. Scott has a masters in science and environmental journalism and a bachelor's degree in conservation biology degree from the University of Lincoln in the U.K. During his academic and professional career, Scott has participated in several animal conservation projects, including English bird surveys, wolf monitoring in Germany and leopard tracking in South Africa.