NASA’s Orion capsule bids farewell to the moon

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The historic Artemis I mission, sending an unmanned spacecraft on an unprecedented journey around the Moon, is now in the final stages of its historic journey.

Orion, known as NASA’s new space capsule, made another pass by the lunar surface on Monday morning, capturing views of notable lunar sites, including a pair. Apollo landing sites. The spacecraft passed just 80 miles (128.7 kilometers) from the lunar surface. A second close flyby of the moon.

After that, Orion fired its main engine for about three and a half minutes — the longest burn ever conducted on its mission. Engine combustion launched the capsule on its final course home, kicking off the last leg of its 25-and-a-half-day journey.

The Artemis I mission lifted off on November 16 during NASA’s Stumbled And Long delay The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket launched the Orion capsule into space, cementing its status as the most powerful operational launch vehicle ever built. The thrust of the SLS rocket was greater than that of the Saturn V rocket, which landed on the moon in the 20th century. 15%.

After reaching space, Orion separates from the rocket and travels around the moon. A week ago, the capsule entered a “far retrograde orbit” around the moon, allowing it to swing 40,000 miles (64,374 kilometers) beyond the moon’s far side. It is Farther than any spacecraft Designed to carry people.

The spacecraft is now set to traverse the 238,900-mile (384,400-kilometer) void between the Moon and Earth. It is expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere on December 11, creating enough pressure to heat its exterior to over 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit (2,760 degrees Celsius).

If the astronauts were on board, they would be protected Heat shield.

Upon re-entry, Orion will travel at 20,000 miles per hour (32,187 kilometers per hour), or 26 times the speed of sound. All that energy is dissipated as the capsule hits Earth’s dense inner atmosphere again, then releases its parachutes to further slow its descent before its splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

After all, the Orion capsule would have traveled far 1.3 million miles into space.

NASA has been preparing for this mission for more than a decade. After its successful completion, the space agency will select a crew to fly the Artemis II mission, which will take off as soon as 2024. Artemis II aims to send astronauts on the same trajectory as Artemis I, which orbits the Moon. But did not descend to its surface.

This will pave the way for the Artemis III mission, ie It is currently scheduled to start in 2025 — and is expected to put a woman and a person of color on the moon for the first time. It will mark the first visit by humans to the Moon in half a century.

The performance of the Orion spacecraft was “excellent,” Orion program manager Howard Hu told reporters. Last week.

The space agency had to fix a few minor problems, including an unexpected one The communication blackout lasted for almost an hour. But NASA officials say there have been no major problems and the mission has been a huge success so far.

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