(Washington) Space Capsule Orion NASA flew by less than 130 kilometers from the moon’s surface on Monday, a spectacular maneuver that marks the beginning of the return route to Earth for this first mission of the Artemis program.
By making this flyby so close to the surface, the spacecraft used the Moon’s gravity to propel itself on its return path.
Communication with the capsule was interrupted 30 minutes after passing the far side of the moon. She would also fly over the Apollo mission landing pads.
The essential thrust of the European Service Module’s main engine, which propels the capsule, lasted for more than three minutes.
This is the last major maneuver of the mission. The latter begins with the November 16 launch of NASA’s new Mega rocket, which will last a total of 25 and a half days.
Orion It will now make only minor course corrections until it lands in the Pacific Ocean from the US city of San Diego on Sunday, December 11 at 12:40 pm (Eastern Time). He will be rescued and put aboard a US Navy ship.
During the trip, Orion spent about six days in a telepathic orbit around the moon.
A week ago, the brand-new spacecraft broke the distance record for a habitable capsule – 432,000 km from our planet – surpassing the Apollo missions.
The capsule does not carry passengers, and the purpose of this Artemis 1 mission is to verify that the vehicle is safe for future crew members.
The main purpose is to test the resistance of the heat shieldOrion – the largest ever built – when entering Earth’s atmosphere at 40,000 km/h. It can withstand half as much heat as the surface of the Sun (2800 degrees Celsius).
With the Artemis project, the Americans want to establish a permanent presence on the Moon in order to prepare for a mission to Mars.
The Artemis 2 mission will take astronauts to the Moon, but not land there. This honor will be reserved for the crew of Artemis 3, the first to land on the Moon’s South Pole. Officially, these works are scheduled to take place in 2024 and 2025 respectively.