Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft leaves lunar orbit to head home
NASA’s Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft is coming home.
The unmanned Orion spacecraft successfully completed a moon departure burn on Thursday (December 1) to go home after success Moon jobs. The fire started at 4:54 p.m. EST (2154 GMT) and lasted just under two minutes, according to NASA Television commentator Shaneequa Vereen.
“Orion has had a successful and nominal, 1 minute, 45 second, distant retrograde orbital burn,” Vereen announced during the agency’s broadcast of the burn. The spacecraft’s solar panels could be seen gently rocking back and forth on NASA Television’s live broadcast as a “little Soilglowed in the background.
Orion now begins its ten-day journey home. If all goes according to plan, the capsule will crash into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California on December 11. NASA and the US Navy have already begun training for the recovery operation that will mark the end of the Artemis 1 mission. .
Live Updates: NASA’s Artemis 1 lunar mission
Orion launched atop NASA’s massive Space Launch System (SLS) rocket in a fiery display on Nov. 16, the start of the space agency’s highly anticipated Artemis 1 lunar mission.
The mission is the first in the agency’s Artemis program, which aims to establish a sustainable manned lunar outpost near the moon’s south pole by the end of the decade.
The first Artemis mission was intended as a test for both the SLS vehicle and the Orion spacecraft to ensure that both are flightworthy and safe to carry human crews into deep space. If Artemis 1 goes as planned, the next mission, artemis 2will launch astronauts into lunar orbit in 2024. NASA will not return astronauts to the moon until 2025 Artemis 3.
“The first launch of the Space Launch System rocket was simply eye-watering,” said Artemis mission manager Mike Sarafin. “While our mission with Orion is still ongoing and we continue to learn during our flight, the rocket’s systems at least performed as designed and as expected,” he added.
Orion, meanwhile, is also performing excellently by all indications. A major milestone, the insertion of the spacecraft into distant retrograde orbit around the Moon, was reached on November 25.
With today’s burn, Orion now has a long and lonely journey home and will no doubt send home beautiful photos and videos as it has done in its flight thus far.
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