NASA announced Friday, Nov. 25, that the Orion spacecraft was placed into distant lunar orbit on the tenth day of the Artemis-1 mission. In BlogThe US space agency said:
“During this lunar orbit, flight controllers will monitor critical systems [d’Orion] and perform experiments related to the deep space environment. »
This is New capsuleIt is slated to carry astronauts to the moon in the coming years – the last to set foot on its surface since the Apollo mission in 1972 – and currently travels more than 64,000 kilometers from the moon.
Without crew on board
At this distance, it would take no less than six days to complete half a lunar orbit before beginning the return journey to Earth.
This first test flight of the Orion spacecraft, without a crew on board, was to be used to ensure the vehicle was safe. A landing in the Pacific Ocean was scheduled for December 11, twenty-five days later.
The success of this mission depends on the future of Artemis-2, which will take astronauts around the moon without landing, and then Artemis-3, which will mark the return of humans to the lunar surface. These works are scheduled to take place in 2024 and 2025 respectively.