The capsule entered lunar orbit just over a week after the $4 billion launch. Orion will remain in this orbit for almost a week and complete half a circle before heading home.
At the time the engine was fired, the capsule was 380,000 kilometers from Earth.
Orion is expected to cover a distance of almost 432,000 kilometers in a few days and set a new record for the distance covered by the capsule, which is designed to transport people.
“These are statistics, but they are symbolic for what they represent,” Jim Geffre, Orion manager, said in an interview with NASA earlier this week.
“It’s about challenging ourselves, going further, staying longer and going beyond what we’ve previously explored.”
NASA considers this a dress rehearsal for the next flight to the Moon in 2024 with astronauts.
Landing astronauts on the moon could follow as early as 2025. Astronauts last visited the Moon 50 years ago during the Apollo 17 flight.
Earlier this week, mission control in Houston lost contact with the capsule for almost an hour.
At this time, dispatchers regulated the communication channel between Orion and the Deep Space Network. Officials said the spacecraft remained operational.
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