Five days after launch, the Orion lunar capsule completed its first orbit around the Moon. The spacecraft flew over the surface at more than 5,500 kilometers per hour at an altitude of 130 kilometers.
Orion is used by NASA for the Artemis program, which is supposed to bring people to the moon again in fifty years. In this case it is about unmanned flight, which aims to gain experience for manned flights within two years. Instead of four moonwalkers, there are now three test dummies aboard that measure the forces the crew is subjected to.
became Orion Launched last Wednesday On a rocket higher than Groningen Martinitoren. This giant was needed only in the first nine minutes to get a part of the crew the size of two large camps on the way to the moon.
Now that Orion has reached the moon after a journey of nearly 400,000 kilometers, NASA has used the moon’s gravity to deliver the capsule into a wide orbit around the celestial body. In six days, the capsule will reach within 65,000 kilometers of the Moon, the farthest ever for a lunar probe to return to Earth.
To perform the course correction, it was necessary to run the Orion’s engines for 2.5 minutes to get the correct flight path. Orion then passed behind the Moon for the first time, causing, as expected, to lose contact with the capsule for half an hour.
After a few tense minutes of waiting, Orion manipulated flight control to look back at Earth:
A NASA commentator compared the famous photos Sunrise And the Pale blue dot. The first was an “Earthrise” image taken during the Apollo 8 mission in 1968, and the second was a retrospective of Voyager 1 in which Earth is little more than a fragile blue speck in an infinite universe.
There we see our blue dot go up, along with his Eight billion peopleOn the shoulders of the giants of the generation of Apollo, Orion passes the torch to the generation of Artemis. The presenter also noted that Orion jumped over the Apollo 11 landing site shortly thereafter, the place where Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon in 1969.
Orion is scheduled to return to Earth on December 11th.
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