Orion, a spaceship that left for lunar exploration, returns to Earth on the 11th: Donga Science

NASA’s Orion spacecraft has begun its journey back to Earth. On November 28, the Orion spacecraft captured the Earth and the Moon together with a camera attached to a solar panel wing. Courtesy of NASA

The Orion spacecraft, which left for the moon on its first Artemis mission last month, has begun its return flight to Earth. The Orion spacecraft is expected to land in the Pacific Ocean on the 11th of this month (local time).

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced on the 5th (local time) that the Orion spacecraft has begun its journey back to Earth after completing a close orbital flight to the moon. The Orion spacecraft will fly towards Earth at an altitude of 79 miles (about 127 km) using the moon’s gravity. Sandra Jones, NASA mission control commentator, said, “Orion has now set its sights on home.”

The Orion spacecraft will enter the atmosphere at 30 times the speed of sound on the 11th (local time) and land in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego, California, USA. A splashdown is a method by which a spacecraft launches into the sea by reducing the speed of its parachute as it returns to Earth.

On November 16, a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket was launched and Artemis’ first mission began. The NASA-led Artemis mission is a manned lunar exploration project resumed 50 years after the Apollo 17 launch in 1972. It includes missions such as sending astronauts to the moon and building a lunar base for future exploration of deep space.

If this mission is completed successfully, actual astronauts are expected to board the next mission, scheduled for late 2024. This mission was flown with a dummy instead of a person to test the performance of the SLS rocket and spacecraft Orion for future lunar exploration. Next, NASA embarks on the third Artemis mission, which aims to land the first black woman and astronaut on the moon’s south pole in 2025-2026.

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