Watch the Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft enter lunar orbit on Friday
NASA’s Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft will arrive in lunar orbit on Friday afternoon (November 25), and you can watch the moment live.
Orion since then it has been making its circuitous journey to Earth’s nearest neighbor launched last Wednesday (Nov. 16) by NASA Artemis 1 mission — and the uncrewed capsule is about to reach its destination.
On Friday at 16:52 EST (2152 GMT), Orion is scheduled to perform an engine burn that will put the spacecraft into a far retrograde orbit (DRO) around the Moon. You can follow all the action live here on Space.com, courtesy of NASA, starting at 4:30 PM EST (2130 GMT).
DRO will take Orion about 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers) beyond the moon at its farthest point. As it travels along this path, the capsule will set a new record, traveling farther from Earth than any previous spacecraft evaluated by humans.
The current mark of 248,655 miles (400,171 km) is held by NASA Apollo 13 a mission that was not meant to travel so far. Apollo 13 circled the moon instead of landing on the body after an oxygen tank in the spacecraft’s service module failed in deep space.
Orion will spend just under a week at DRO. The capsule will leave lunar orbit with a burnt-out engine on December 1, after which it will begin its return to Earth. Orion will arrive here on December 11 with a landing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California, if all goes according to plan.
The nearly 26-day Artemis 1 mission is designed to check out Orion and NASA’s huge Space Launch System rocket that sent the capsule into the sky last week, ahead of planned manned missions to the moon.
The first of these astronaut flights, Artemis 2will send Orion around the moon in 2024. Artemis 3 it will then place boots near the lunar south pole in 2025 or 2026. Additional landing missions will follow as NASA builds a manned research outpost in the south polar region — a key goal of Artemis program.
Mike Wall is the author of “There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).
#Watch #Artemis #Orion #spacecraft #enter #lunar #orbit #Friday