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NASA succeeds in placing Orion space capsule in lunar orbit, eclipsing Apollo 13’s distance

NASA succeeds in placing Orion space capsule in lunar orbit, eclipsing Apollo 13’s distance

HOUSTON (CBS SF) — NASA engineers can breathe a sigh of relief now.

Mission controllers with the Artemis program have just completed a critical maneuver to place the Orion space capsule into a record lunar orbit. It will now eclipse Apollo 13 to become the most distant human-powered craft ever launched from Earth.

“The goal here is to test techniques and procedures — and the spacecraft — that NASA wants to use to resume human exploration of the Moon,” CBS News space consultant Bill Harwood said. “They want to run it into deep space so they can actually run it through the squeezer.”

Except in this case there are no people on board. That will come later.

“The main key here is to have a successful mission so we can start looking forward to being able to fly astronauts to the Moon,” says NASA’s Jacob Bleacher.

When can this happen? NASA is optimistic that it will be sooner than you think.

“Late 2025 is what we’re aiming for for Artemis-3 to land our astronauts on the moon,” says Bleacher, who adds that he considers that target date “likely.”

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