Nasa’s Orion spacecraft flew past the moon today, five days after it was launched off the coast of Florida, USA. Orion is on a 25-day mission to orbit the moon before it returns safely to earth.
The spacecraft will carry astronauts to the Moon in the coming years – the first to set foot on its surface since the last Apollo mission in 1972.
This mission, called Artemis 1, aims to ensure that the vehicle is safe for human travel.
The outward-energy-equivalent flight Orion performed today is the first of a pair of maneuvers needed to enter a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon, Nasa said.
– Esteban (@esteban_riojas) November 21, 2022
Orion came within 100 kilometers of the lunar surface, using the moon’s gravity to enter an elongated orbit. Orion needs to prove it can enter and exit lunar orbit before returning home, surviving re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere and plunging into the Pacific Ocean on December 11.
“At the time of the burn, Orion was 328 miles above the Moon, traveling at 5,023 mph. Immediately after the burn, Orion passed 81 miles above the Moon, traveling at full speed. 5,102 mph,” Nasa said in a blog post.
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