NASA’s Orion spacecraft makes its final flyby of the moon

The Orion spacecraft next to the Moon and Earth in the background

The Orion spacecraft next to the Moon and Earth in the background
picture: Container

The Orion spacecraft has completed its last flyby of the Moon on its way to Earth, where it is expected to land on December 11.

On Monday, Orion fired the European Service Module’s main engine to within 117.3 km of the lunar surface. The spacecraft took advantage of the moon’s gravitational assistance to increase its speed by 1,054 km/h, and successfully completed the last major trajectory correction of the Artemis 1 mission before reentering the atmosphere. Minor corrections will be required for the remaining six days of the mission, but Monday’s burn of 3 minutes, 27 seconds was the last major burn of the Orion engine.

The ship is designed to carry the crew that has gone the extra mile

The Orion spacecraft with the Moon and Earth in the distance

picture: Container

Orion gave up A retrograde orbit around the Moon December 1, the sixteenth day of the expedition. Three days ago it had become the astronaut-capable ship that had traveled the farthest in the history of space exploration: it was 432,194 kilometers from Earth.

The distance record for a manned spacecraft has not been beaten since April 14, 1970, when the Apollo 13 crew traversed the far side of the Moon 400,046 km from Earth. The crew of the Artemis 2 mission, which will follow the same path as Orion on its own, is expected to go even further in its distant orbit to the Moon.

Although there were no astronauts aboard the spacecraft, the Orion of the Artemis 1 mission leaves behind historic images of the Moon and Earth from proximity and distance. Four GoPro cameras above the service module’s solar panels captured a crescent moon and Earth’s moon like we’ve never seen before, and so Detailed pictures of the lunar surface.

The mission is a success, despite some unexpected problems such as Sudden shutdown of current limiters From the ship, which returned without causing major problems. Orion is scheduled to land in the Pacific Ocean on December 11th.

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