The Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft leaves lunar orbit to head home
NASA’s Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft is coming home.
No crew Orion spacecraft successfully completed a burn on leaving the moon on Thursday (December 1) to begin its journey home after a successful moon orbits. The burn began at 4:54 p.m. EST (2154 GMT) and lasted just under two minutes, according to NASA television commentator Shaneequa Vereen.
“Orion has had a successful and nominal 1 minute and 45 second far retrograde orbit burn,” Vereen announced during the agency’s broadcast of the burn. The spacecraft’s solar panels can be seen gently swaying back and forth in the live broadcast on NASA TV as a “small The Earth” glowed in the background.
Orion now begins its ten-day journey home. If all goes according to plan, the capsule will splash up in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California on December 11. NASA and the United States Navy have already begun training for the recovery operation that will mark the end of the Artemis 1 mission.
Live Updates: NASA’s Artemis 1 lunar mission
Orion launched on top of NASA’s array Space Launch System (SLS) rocket in a fiery display on Nov. 16, kicking off the space agency’s long-awaited Artemis 1 lunar mission.
The mission is the first in the agency’s Artemis program, which aims to establish a permanent manned lunar outpost near the moon’s south pole by the end of the decade.
The first Artemis mission was intended as a test of both the SLS vehicle and the Orion spacecraft to ensure that both were airworthy and safe for transporting human crews into deep space. If Artemis 1 goes according to plan, the next mission, Artemis 2will launch astronauts into lunar orbit in 2024. NASA will then return astronauts to the moon no earlier than 2025 with Artemis 3.
“The first launch of the Space Launch System rocket was nothing short of eye-watering,” said Artemis mission manager Mike Sarafin. “While our Orion mission is still ongoing and we continue to learn over the course of our flight, the rocket’s systems performed as designed and as expected in any case,” he added.
Orion, meanwhile, is also performing admirably by all accounts. A major milestone, the insertion of the spacecraft into a far retrograde orbit around the Moon, was reached on 25 Nov.
With today’s burn, Orion now has a long and lonely journey home and will no doubt send him home great photos and footage as well as during its entire flight so far.
#Artemis #Orion #spacecraft #leaves #lunar #orbit #home