Orion successfully entered lunar orbit 10 days after launch

(ORDO NEWS) — NASA‘s Orion spacecraft was launched into lunar orbit on Friday as a long-awaited mission to the moon was successful, officials said.

Just over a week after the spacecraft lifted off from Florida and headed for the moon, flight controllers “successfully completed the launch to place Orion into a deep retrograde orbit,” according to the US space agency’s website.

The ship is supposed to take astronauts to the moon in the coming years. has stepped on its surface since the last Apollo mission in 1972.

This first unmanned test flight is intended to ensure the safety of the ship.

The Orion orbit will fly at an altitude of about 40,000 miles above the Moon, NASA said.

While in lunar orbit, flight controllers will monitor key systems and perform checks while in deep space, the agency said.

It will take Orion about a week to complete one half of its orbit around the moon. According to NASA, it will then deorbit and head back home.

The ship is expected to fly up to 40,000 miles behind the moon on Saturday, a record for a habitable capsule. The current record is held by the Apollo 13 spacecraft at a distance of 248,655 miles (400,171 km) from Earth.

It will then fly back to Earth from a landing in the Pacific Ocean scheduled for December 11, after just over 25 days of flight.

The success of this mission will determine the future of the Artemis 2 mission, which will take astronauts around the moon without landing, and then Artemis 3, which will finally mark the return of humans to the lunar surface.

These missions are scheduled for 2024 and 2025 respectively.

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