Artemis-1: Orion space capsule has passed moon, on the way to the distance record

NASA’s Orion spacecraft flew successfully around the moon on Monday and communicated with Earth again after half an hour without radio contact. The US space agency announced that the first maneuver to enter the planned orbit around the moon worked. During the flight around the moon, the spacecraft passed, among other things, the “Tranquility Base”, the landing point of the first manned lunar module. In the meantime, the unmanned Orion spacecraft has approached the moon to about 130 km. Another maneuver is scheduled for Friday to enter the planned distant retrograde orbit.

The mission called Artemis-1 is proceeding as planned, ground systems, the team and the spacecraft are still exceeding all expectations, Mission Chief Mike Sarafin summarized the situation after the maneuver: “We’ll continue to learn about this new, deep-space ship along the way.” So far, less fuel has been used than expected. Those responsible are currently in contact with NASA’s Deep Space Network, which was interrupted for about 30 minutes when the spacecraft was behind the moon. Orion is currently 330,000 km from Earth and 45,000 km from the Moon. On Friday it will travel up to 92,000 km, breaking the distance record for a human-made spacecraft to Earth.

The space capsule was launched last Wednesday to the moon. In the third attempt, NASA has thus initiated its ambitious program, which aims to return mankind to the moon. This time, however, it is no longer about mere visits, but about building a permanent presence. In the end, the star was ill-fated: After delays and skyrocketing costs in development and construction, the launch of this first unmanned mission had to be postponed several times.

For this purpose, Orion should now orbit the moon for about two weeks and then return to earth. NASA wants to use it to test important technology that will also be used in subsequent manned missions. People are said to be already orbiting the moon on Artemis-2, and after an unmanned test of the lunar module, the crew of Artemis-3 is even supposed to land. The current status of the Artemis-1 mission can be seen on a NASA website see.

A look inside (Image: NASA)


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