NASA’s Orion capsule flies close to the Moon

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The historic Artemis I mission, which sends an unmanned spacecraft on an unprecedented journey around the Moon, is now on the last leg of its historic journey.

Orion, as NASA’s new space capsule is called, made another pass over the lunar surface on Monday morning, capturing views of notable lunar sites, including a couple Apollo landing sites. The spacecraft then passed 80 miles (128.7 kilometers) above the moon’s surface. Second flight close the moon.

Then, Orion ignited its main engine for three and a half minutes, the longest burn ever during its flight. Engine burnout sent the capsule on its final trajectory home, where it began the last leg of its 25.5-day journey.

The Artemis I mission launched on November 16, when it was a NASA mission Trapped And long awaited A Space Launch System (SLS) rocket propelled the Orion capsule into space, cementing its position as the most powerful operational launch vehicle ever built. The SLS rocket surpassed the thrust of the Saturn V rocket, which led to the moon landings in the 20th century, by 15%.

Orion separated from the rocket upon reaching space and has since made one trip around the moon. About a week ago, the capsule entered what it calls a “very retro orbit” around the moon, allowing it to swing more than 40,000 miles (64,374 kilometers) behind the far side of the moon. this farther than any spacecraft Designed to carry humans that never flew.

The spacecraft is now set to traverse the 238,900-mile (384,400-kilometer) gap between the Moon and Earth. It’s expected to return to Earth’s atmosphere on Dec. 11, a process that will create enough pressure to heat its outer surface to more than 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit (2,760 degrees Celsius).

If the astronauts are on board, they will be protected by a Heat shield.

Upon reentry, Orion will travel at 20,000 mph (32,187 km/h), or more than 26 times the speed of sound. All that energy will be dissipated as the capsule crashes back into Earth’s dense inner atmosphere and then releases its parachutes to further slow its descent before splashing into the Pacific Ocean.

Finally, the Orion capsule will travel more than 1.3 million miles in space.

NASA has been preparing for this mission for more than a decade. Upon its successful completion, the space agency will consider selecting a crew to fly the Artemis II mission, which could take off as early as 2024. Artemis II will aim to send astronauts on a similar trajectory as Artemis I, to fly around the moon but not land on its surface.

This could in turn pave the way for the Artemis III mission, which is The release is currently scheduled for 2025 A woman and a black person are expected to be placed on the moon for the first time. It will also mark man’s first visit to the lunar surface in half a century.

Orion program manager Howard Ho told reporters that the Orion spacecraft’s performance was “outstanding.” last week.

The space agency had to fix some minor issues, including an unexpected one The communications blackout lasted about an hour. But NASA officials said there have been no major problems and so far they consider the mission a resounding success.

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