Artemis I took stunning pictures of the setting Earth during its first flyby of the moon

(ORDO NEWS) — The Orion spacecraft made its first close flyby of the Moon on Monday, November 21, approaching within 81 statute miles (130 km) of the Moon’s surface.

As the Artemis 1 unmanned spacecraft flew past the far side of the Moon, the Orion Orbital Maneuvering System engine fired for 2 minutes and 30 seconds to successfully place the capsule into the desired orbit for the mission, called the far retrograde orbit around the Moon.

“This incineration puts Orion into orbit around the Moon and is the biggest propulsion event so far as Artemis hunts for the Moon,” Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission leader, said at a briefing on Monday.

Engine burnout, called the engine-out flyby, is the first of two maneuvers required to enter what is known as a far retrograde orbit around the Moon.

The next flyby will take place on Friday, November 25, using the engines of the European Service Module. Orion will remain in this orbit for about a week to test the spacecraft’s systems.

Far retrograde will hold Orion at a distance of 40,000 miles from the Moon. The greatest distance of Orion from the Earth will be on Monday, November 28, at 15:05. CST (09:05 UTC) over 268,500 miles.

The greatest distance of Orion from the Moon will be on Friday, November 25 at 15:53. CST (2153 UTC) over 57,250 miles. This is the farthest flight beyond the moon among the spacecraft, estimated by people.

Sarafin said of the mission The teams had the opportunity to test the performance of the SLS rocket, spacecraft and ground systems for the Artemis I mission.

The results, according to him, were “watery eyes”, that is, everything met or exceeded all expectations.

“We didn’t see a single thing on the rocket or spacecraft that would make us doubt any part of the mission,” Sarafin said.

“It’s basically a green light flight. The ship’s systems are very clean, but we’re working on some ‘fun es’ – nothing that imposes any mission restrictions, just some things didn’t work as expected. In general, the mission continues as planned.”

During the flyby, cameras aboard the spacecraft sent stunning images of the Moon against the Earth in the distant background.

“The rise of our pale blue dot and its 8 billion inhabitants is now becoming visible,” Mission Control commentator Sandra Jones said on NASA TV. how the footage was received from Orion.

“We didn’t expect to get live video like we did,” said Judd Freeling, director of ascent and reentry for Artemis 1, “but as part of system testing, we’re looking at how far we can push bandwidth limits. From now on, when we have available bandwidth, we will broadcast live from the mission.”

The Artemis 1 flight launched on November 16 and was the first mission in 50 years to put a human-capable spacecraft on the Moon. NASA hopes to use Orion, SLS and other equipment yet to be built, such as the lunar lander built by SpaceX, to send astronauts back to the lunar surface.

This first lunar landing could begin as early as 2025. Artemis 1 is testing much of the technology that will be required for future flights.

Freeling also said that Orion will fly past the Moon again on December 5th. and the lighting must be good enough for the Orion cameras to capture the Apollo landing sites.

Artemis I took stunning pictures of the setting Earth during its first flyby of the moon 2
This screenshot from the video shows the Earth setting on the far side of the Moon just behind the Orion spacecraft

Despite the exciting offer, don’t expect to see good views of the remaining equipment. Orion won’t be as close as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has already taken high-resolution images of Apollo objects, and Orion’s cameras aren’t as good as LRO’s.

Orion will return to Earth in about 25 days. after launch, and Orion’s splashdown is currently scheduled for December 11th.

Using the solar-powered cameras of the European Service Module, the engineers were able to evaluate the Orion’s appearance and concluded that it was in excellent condition. the form. Thus, Orion has already received permission to re-enter the atmosphere.

Sarafin said the teams would meet on December 5 to decide when and where to deploy the rescue force. This is a joint effort between the US Navy and NASA.

The recovery zone will be in the Pacific Ocean, but the exact landing site will be determined based on a number of factors, most notably the weather.

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