The Orion lunar capsule has arrived at its destination

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The lunar capsule Orion has arrived at its destination

A camera on an Orion solar panel captured this photograph of the craft, Earth, and the Moon on November 21, 2022. Orion was making its first flyby of the Moon as part of the Artemis I mission.

NASA's Orion capsule arrived close to the Moon on Monday, skimming the far side of our satellite and “grazing” the surface of the star before beginning its orbit.

Three mannequins take the place of the astronauts on board.

This is the first time a capsule has visited the Moon since the Apollo program 50 years ago.

It also represents a turning point in the mission which began last Wednesday with the launch of the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket, the cornerstone of the Artemis program.

The unmanned Artemis I rocket finally lifted off from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39B in Cape Canaveral, Florida on November 16, 2022.

The Orion capsule approached 130 kilometers from the far side of the Moon. Since communications were then cut off for thirty minutes, mission officials in Houston had to wait to find out if the scheduled engine firing had gone as planned.

The capsule subsequently reappeared, some 370,000 kilometers from Earth.

The capsule's camera returned the photo of a small blue ball surrounded by darkness.

We can now see our little pale blue dot and its eight billion inhabitants, said NASA's Sandra Jones.

The capsule reached a speed well over 8000 kilometers /hour when she regained radio contact, NASA said. Less than an hour later, Orion flew over Tranquility Base, where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on July 20, 1969.

This is one of those days that I think about and talk about for a very long time, said flight director Zeb Scoville.

Early Monday, images transmitted by Orion showed the Moon moving closer and closer as the capsule traveled the last few thousand miles after lifting off from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, atop the Moon. the most powerful rocket ever built by NASA.

First stage of the mission.Second stage of the mission.Third leg of the mission1/3First leg of the mission.Photo : Radio-CanadaSee previous imageSee next image

Orion had to go behind the Moon to acquire enough of speed to place itself in orbit around the satellite. Flight controllers are evaluating the data to determine if the engine firing went as planned. A new firing will place the capsule in its final orbit on Friday.

Next weekend, Orion will break NASA's distance record for a manned spacecraft. The current mark of nearly 400,000 kilometers was set by Apollo 13 in 1970. On Monday, Orion will be 433,000 kilometers from Earth.

The capsule will spend nearly a week in lunar orbit before returning home. A landing is planned in the Pacific on December 11.

NASA astronauts are expected to attempt to land on the Moon in 2025. Astronauts, including a Canadian, will be aboard the Moon. #x27;Orion to approach the Moon next year.

NASA officials are very satisfied with the progress of the mission so far. now. The SLS rocket exceeded expectations, they told reporters last week.

The 98-meter rocket, however, caused unforeseen damage to the Kennedy Space Center launch pad. The four million kilo thrust was so powerful that it ripped off the armored doors of the elevator.

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