NASA loses contact with the Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft for 47 minutes
NASA unexpectedly lost contact with its moonbound Orion capsule Wednesday morning (Nov. 23) for reasons that remain unclear.
The unmanned Orion has been performing well ever since launch to the moon last Wednesday (Nov. 16) on NASA’s artemis 1 mission. But this Wednesday (Nov. 23) brought a blip: mission controllers lost communication with Orion at 01:09 a.m. EST (0609 GMT) while reconfiguring a connection between the capsule and the Deep Space Networkthe set of radio dishes that NASA uses to talk to its distant spacecraft.
“The reconfiguration has been successfully performed several times in recent days and the team is investigating the cause of the signal loss,” NASA officials wrote in a statement. short update wednesday (opens in new tab).
“The team solved the problem with a groundside reconfiguration,” they added. “Engineers are examining data from the event to help determine what happened, and the command and data processing officer will downlink the data recorded onboard Orion during the outage to be included in that assessment.”
Related: NASA’s Artemis 1 Moon Mission: Live Updates
More: 10 wild facts about the Artemis 1 moon mission
The communications outage lasted 47 minutes and Orion came out fine; the spacecraft is healthy and has suffered no apparent ill effects, NASA officials said.
Orion is gearing up for a crucial maneuver: It’s scheduled to perform an engine burn on Friday (Nov. 25) that will launch the capsule into lunar orbit. If all goes well, Orion will stay in that orbit for about a week and return to Earth on December 1.
The capsule will arrive here with a parachute-assisted landing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California on December 11.
Artemis 1 is a shakeout cruise for Orion and the NASA giant Space Launch Systemthe most powerful missile ever fly successfully. The duo will fly astronauts for the first time in 2024 on Artemis 2, which will send a manned Orion around the moon.
Artemis 3 will follow about a year later, landing astronauts near the moon’s south pole — the place where NASA plans to build a manned outpost, one of the main goals of its mission. Artemis program.
Mike Wall is the author of “Outside (opens in new tab)(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).
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