How many rocket launches will be needed for the Artemis III human moon-landing mission?
16
150
1k
2026
2%
1–4
7%
5–9
24%
10–14
45%
15–19
16%
20–24
3%
25–29
4%
30–∞

This market resolves to the number of non-test rocket launches, intended to fly to space, that contribute (or are intended to contribute) to the Artemis III mission for a human moon landing, that are specific to the Artemis program.

Other Artemis launches that deliver (or intend to deliver) equipment to lunar orbit or the lunar surface count, if that equipment is intended to be available for use in Artemis III (whether it is actually used or not).

Previous Artemis launches that do not leave anything behind intended to be available for use in Artemis III do not count.

Launches that deliver general communications satellites to Earth orbit, that might be used during Artemis III do not count. That is, I am not going to count all of Starlink, or any other existing communications satellites, or any future communications satellite launches to Earth orbit, if they are general-purpose (even if their upgrade is prompted by the Artemis program, or anything like that).

A launch to deliver a satellite to lunar orbit (or a halo orbit associated with an Earth-Moon Lagrange point) specifically as part of the Artemis program, however, will count (even if the satellite is somewhat general-purpose and may outlast the Artemis program) - if NASA or SpaceX or some other official partner in the Artemis program describes such a satellite as being part of the Artemis program, and as long as it is intended to be available for use in Artemis III, it will count.

A multi-stage vehicle counts as a single launch.

An abort in which the upper-stage of a rocket separates from the lower stages whilst still on the pad, as an escape mechanism for the crew, will not count as a launch.

"Launch" means a rocket experiencing greater-than-one vertical thrust-to-weight ratio, due to the thrust of its engines, whilst not in contact with the launch pad or any other part of a launch system.

For an ordinary vertical ground launch this means lift-off, however slight, of the rocket from the pad, under the thrust of its engines.

For an air launch or kinetic launch system, this means the moment the rocket achieves positive vertical acceleration due to the thrust of its engines after separation from the launch aircraft or kinetic launch system.

This definition is intended to exclude cases where separation from the pad/launch system only occurs due to some failure such as the vehicle exploding (such as SN10's second "launch" - timestamp 3:00).

Failed launches still count, as long as they were intended to contribute to Artemis III in the sense described above, and as long as they were a "launch" by the above definition (i.e. , failure occurred after "launch").

"Artemis III" refers to the first mission in the Artemis program that is intended to take humans to the surface of the moon. If the schedule changes and missions are renumbered, this market will remain open and be edited to refer to "Artemis IV" or whatever the mission is called that intends to deliver humans to the surface of the moon. I will resolve the market once that mission is ended - either in failure or upon the humans arriving back on Earth. A mission must get as far as attempting a crewed launch (attempt = "vehicle on the on the pad, crew on board, count-down in progress, not a planned wet dress rehearsal") to count as "intending to take humans to the surface of the moon". If plans change before a crewed launch is attempted, then we'll start talking about Artemis IV or whatnot, and all the launches that contributed (or planned to contribute) to it instead.

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Today Kathy Lueders said that a Lunar landing will require 15 tankers: https://youtu.be/vOg49BVhU40?si=g5dnpj1gpXYpQzEu&t=2387

bought Ṁ25 10–14 YES

Other Artemis launches that deliver (or intend to deliver) equipment to lunar orbit or the lunar surface count, if that equipment is intended to be available for use in Artemis III (whether it is actually used or not).

I'm assuming you're not counting all the launches to put Gateway in orbit, right?

@Mqrius it sounds like they should count, since I wrote:

A launch to deliver a satellite to lunar orbit specifically as part of the Artemis program, however, will count (even if the satellite is somewhat general-purpose and may outlast the Artemis program) - if NASA or SpaceX or some other official partner in the Artemis program describes such a satellite as being part of the Artemis program, and as long as it is intended to be available for use in Artemis III, it will count.

And Wikipedia says it's part of the Artemis program;

The Lunar Gateway, or simply Gateway, is a space station which Artemis program participants plan to assemble in an orbit near the Moon

And

The project is expected to play a major role in the Artemis program after 2024.

I assume that "major role" includes Artemis III.

I guess it is to be in a halo orbit and some may not count that as lunar orbit, but it's closer to lunar than earth orbit. I'll edit the description to say "lunar orbit (or halo orbit associated with an earth-moon Lagrange point)".

Feel free to point out if you think I've misunderstood something, I'm not super on top of Artemis, and this clarification is simply me trying to fit the resolution criteria that I wrote to what's written on Wikipedia.

sold Ṁ16 5–9 YES

@chrisjbillington Fair enough. One of the reasons it might not count is that it's not specific to Artemis III, as it's shared between multiple Artemis missions. If you make a market for other Artemis missions like this then those launches might get double counted. Though you could just say "Yeah that's fine"

@Mqrius Yes, that possiblity (of double counting) was definitely anticipated and intended, I very much did want to include launches not specific to Artemis III as long as they were pretty specific to the Artemis program.

Okay lemme try to figure this out. The direct relations are fairly clear, we've got:

Falcon Heavy Gateway
Starship Depot
Starship Tankers x(10 or so)
Starship HLS
SLS Orion


Here's an overview, it's a bit old but it's the latest I could find. It's from the NASA FY 2023 budget request, so late 2022.

PPE/HALO is Gateway, so we counted that up top.

The "Lunar Relay (SOMD)" probably counts, but I don't think it's decided yet what that relay is going to be exactly, and who's flying it. Let's count it as 1 rocket for now.

I'm assuming CAPSTONE doesn't count? Everything is related to some degree, but you have to draw a line somewhere. imo CAPSTONE more of a proof of concept, so it shouldn't count, just like the HLS demo shouldn't count.

CAPSTONE is a lunar orbiter that is testing and verifying the calculated orbital stability planned for the Lunar Gateway space station. The spacecraft is a 12-unit CubeSat that is also testing a navigation system that is measuring its position relative to NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) without relying on ground stations.


CFM TP Demos probably shouldn't count if we're not counting demos, but if you're curious, they're little tech demos. The Starship internal prop transfer this week is one of them.


PRIME-1 (Polar Resources Ice Mining Experiment-1) shouldn't count, but it's cool, and if it's successful maybe a later version will be used for Artemis 3? Probably not. But PRIME-1 is launched on a Falcon later this year, probably delayed to next year.


Anyways, that gives at least 5 launches plus however many tankers are needed. Let me know if you disagree with any of my reasoning!

@Mqrius Actually Gateway and the lunar relay are apparently not part of Artemis 3? idk

@Mqrius Here's a newer timeline, actually just got posted.

I guess gateway and lunar relay indeed won't be used by Artemis 3. Though we'll have to wait and see cos this puts it in 2026 and that's highly unlikely.

@Mqrius CAPSTONE indeed sounds like it shouldn't count since it is not something that will be used (or "available for use") by Artemis III. Yes knowledge gained from may will be used, but the same is true for all tests, and I've excluded tests.

CFM TP Demos probably shouldn't count if we're not counting demos

Agreed

I guess gateway and lunar relay indeed won't be used by Artemis 3

Ah, the timeline certainly makes it look that that way. Strange.

bought Ṁ35 of 10–14 YES

SpaceX Vice President of Customer Operations and Integration Jessica Jensen says ten-ish: https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1744807740021633382?t=u9hd-jMa-pv47GCVD-xH-g

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