Flight day 13: Orion capsule goes furthest from Earth
The uncrewed Orion probe of the Artemis 1 mission arrived at a location 432,210 km from Earth shortly after 3:00 pm (CST, US Central Standard Time) on November 28, the 13th day of the flight, and reached maximum distance from the ground. This is a record of about 35,000 km farther from Earth than the distance recorded on the 11th day of the mission.
Day 13 is the midpoint of a total mission day of 25.5, corresponding to day 6 of the retrograde orbit segment. Currently, the Orion spacecraft is in a normal retrograde orbit above the moon at a distance of several thousand kilometers. The Orion spacecraft continued to take images of the Earth and the Moon as it did on day 12 of the mission.
NASA Director Bill Nelson explained that the Artemis 1 mission was a phenomenal success due to the “you can do the incredible” spirit, completing his mission to create an event that would turn the page in history. Director Nelson said he was surprised the mission went so well, but stressed that it was a test mission.
The Artemis mission team engineers had planned an additional burn to maintain orbit on flight day 13, but the Orion capsule was already orbiting in a retrograde orbit and confirmed that no additional burn was needed. However, in the event that the Orion capsule is used in Artemis 2 and 3 missions, it is planned to test the spacecraft’s thermal environment and propulsion system to reduce potential hazards.
As of flight day 13, 37.5 percent of the tests planned for the Artemis 1 mission have already been completed or are underway. Most of the remaining tests are planned for re-entry, during splashdown, and during recovery and recovery of the Orion capsule. For reference, the Orion capsule is scheduled to land on the Pacific coast of San Diego, at which time NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Exploration Ground Systems team and the US Navy are planning a successful recovery of the capsule.
Controllers reported completing nine of 19 fuel injection calibration tests and successfully testing three engine types for the Orion rover’s main engines, auxiliary thrusters, and reaction control system thrusters. A total of about 2,500 kg of propellant was used for this, which is about 70 kg less than the estimated value before launch. There are still more than 900 kg of propellant left and about 50 kg more than the estimated value before launch.
On mission day 13, November 28, at 8:00 pm EST, the Orion capsule is 432,039 kilometers from Earth and 69,423 kilometers from the Moon, traveling at 2,702 kilometers per hour. Also, so far, the Orion probes have sent more than 2,000 files to Earth.
Flight day 14: ongoing tests related to the deep space mission
On mission day 14, the Orion capsule is still in a distant retrograde orbit. In addition, team Artimis engineers are continuing to test the reactive control thrusters that began on flight day 12. Because retrograde orbits are very stable orbits that require very little fuel, relatively many tests are possible.
Testing of the Orion Star Trackers has also completed stage 6 of a total of 8 stages. The star tracker above helps the spacecraft determine its direction, but it’s also collecting data to develop navigation for future use. (Links to related articles)
On mission day 14, the Artemis team planned a new flight test to gather more information about the Orion rover’s thermal controls. While the Orion spacecraft orbits with its tail toward the sun for most of its mission (solar arrays point toward the sun to generate power), a new test flight intentionally tilts the Orion capsule’s tail up to 20 degrees from the sun to generate power will change the direction of harvesting.
This collects additional data, which will help engineers understand the thermal performance range of the instruments that will be mounted on the Artemis 2 mission. For reference, if the direction and angle are changed for more than 3 hours, it will take more than 10 hours to return to normal power.
Mission Day 14 On November 29, at 4:00 pm EST, the Orion capsule is 424,866 km from the Earth and 69,423 km from the Moon and traveling at 2,880 km/h.
Flight Day 15: Team vote to leave distant retrograde orbit and return to Earth
The Artemis 1 mission management team met on flight day 15 to review the overall status of the test flight and to vote on whether the Orion spacecraft was ready to leave its distant retrograde orbit and return to Earth. The mission management team confirmed that there were no anomalies in the progress of the mission so far and determined that the Orion spacecraft was ready to return to Earth.
Therefore, on mission day 15, November 30, at 3:53 pm (Central Standard Time), the next day, the Orion spacecraft slowed down in preparation for leaving a retrograde orbit and performed an orbit correction . During the combustion, the Orion capsule used 6 auxiliary thrusters of the European Service Module manufactured by the European Space Agency (ESA) for a total of 95 seconds, through which additional data on the thrusters for the wings of the solar panels of the Orion were obtained. probe. For reference, the previous maximum injection calibration time was only 17 seconds.
Artemis 1 mission chief Mike Sarafin said the team is continuing to collect data on flight tests and reduce the risk of future crew flights being conducted, which will allow them to understand how the overall system is performing. and with what leeway. information about the presence of a car and the possibility of saving fuel.
Additionally, the Artemis team decided to run four additional tests to test various things as the Orion capsule returned to Earth. First, as the pressure control device opens and closes the valve, the system leak rate is evaluated, and attitude maneuver performance is evaluated in preparation for the Artemis 2 mission. It also tests flight in 3-DOF mode, unlike the normally used 6-DOF mode.
A total of 2,576 kg of propellant was used for orbital maintenance on mission day 15, 92 kg less than anticipated before launch. Thus, there is a total of about 908 kg of fuel left over planned, which is about 44 kg more than expected before launch.
On Mission Day 15, November 30, at 4:00 pm EST, the Orion capsule is 407,291 km from Earth and 81,917 km from the Moon, traveling at 3,302 km/h.
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