NASA’s Artemis spacecraft is set to reach the moon

NASA’s Artemis spacecraft is set to reach the moon

NASA’s Artemis spacecraft is set to reach the moon.

The Orion capsule will hover 130 km (80 miles) above the lunar surface before entering a larger orbit.

The vehicle will be out of contact during this maneuver, which takes place at 12:44 GMT as it takes place on the far side of the moon.

The Artemis team said they were “anxiously awaiting” the signal and so far the mission has “exceeded expectations” since launch last week.

“It’s been a really exciting few days for both the team and the spacecraft as we learn how the system works in the space environment,” NASA’s Jim Geffre said at a media briefing.

“It’s a good reminder that this is the first time in 50 years that a manned exploration spacecraft has left low Earth orbit and been sent to the moon.”

The spacecraft will zoom over the Apollo 11, 12, and 14 landing sites as it approaches. It is without contact for 34 minutes, but then begins to send back data and footage from the flyby.

The Artemis mission began Wednesday from Kennedy Space Center in Florida with the launch of the most powerful rocket NASA has ever built.

It placed Orion on a path to the moon. The capsule has already sent back several selfies on its journey.

As this is a test flight, there are no astronauts on board this time – instead, three puppets covered in thousands of sensors set off.

“These sensors get an idea of ​​whether the environment will be okay for people,” said NASA astronaut Zena Cardman.

“So there’s things like radiation sensors, motion sensors, accelerometers — things that we, as human payloads, care a lot about.”

And that’s important, because if that flight goes well, the astronauts will be on board for the next ride, first into orbit around the moon before a third Artemis mission then brings the first woman and first person of color to the lunar surface .

The European Space Agency is also closely monitoring the spacecraft. It is Orion’s service module that provides the power and propulsion for the voyage.

Esa also has a passenger on board: Shaun the Sheep, the British stop-motion animated character. Shaun is buckled up for the trip. NASA’s mascot is Snoopy, who floats freely in the cockpit of the crew capsule.

Orion capsule

The spacecraft will fly over the landing sites of several Apollo missions

After the close flyby, Orion will swing outward much further as it begins to orbit the moon.

On November 26, it is scheduled to break the Apollo 13 distance record when it will be 400,171 km (248,655 miles) from Earth.

Two days later, it will be more than 430,000 km (270,000 miles) from our planet – the furthest distance a human-made spacecraft has ever flown.

After that, the capsule will begin its journey home, back to the Moon and then on to Earth with a scheduled splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on December 11th.

Orion Journey

Orion Journey

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