Orion enters lunar orbit that will allow it to set the distance record

Orion enters lunar orbit that will allow it to set the distance record
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Ten days later Launch from Kennedy Space CenterNASA’s Orion spacecraft entered a distant orbit around the moon on Friday, completing another important mission milestone that space agency officials said So far so good.

Orion’s thrusters fired for 1½ minutes at 4:52 a.m. Eastern time, placing the craft in an orbit about 40,000 to 50,000 miles above the lunar surface. That orbit would put Orion on a path to break the record for the furthest distance from Earth “by a spacecraft designed to take humans into deep space and return safely to Earth.” The current record of 248,655 miles was set by Apollo 13 in 1970, NASA said in a statement.

It should pass Orion at 7:42 a.m. ET on Saturday. The spacecraft is expected to reach its maximum distance of more than 270,000 miles from Earth at 4:13 a.m. ET on Monday, NASA said.

The distant orbit, which requires little fuel for maintenance, will allow Orion to test its systems to see how the vehicle performs. The orbit is so massive that the craft will complete about half of the orbit in six days before returning to Earth.

The flight is the first phase without an astronaut on board NASA’s Artemis programIt aims to return astronauts to the lunar surface for the first time since the Apollo missions of the late 1960s and early 70s.

Orion uses cameras mounted on the exterior of the spacecraft Beaming dramatic images back and live video from its journey. With spectacular images of Earth, more than 200,000 miles away, seen hanging in the vast, inky darkness of space.

If the current mission, known as Artemis I, goes well, NASA plans a second flight with astronauts on board by 2024. The mission, known as Artemis II, will also orbit the moon, landing humans. to come later

“The mission is progressing as we planned, and the ground system, our operations team and the Orion spacecraft are exceeding expectations,” Mike Sarafin, NASA’s Artemis I mission manager, said this week. “And we continue to learn about these new deep spacecraft along the way.”

He said Space Launch System Rocket, even more powerful than the Apollo-era Saturn V, performed so well that the result was “eye watering.” However, its massive thrust caused some damage to its mobile launch tower, including blowing off the tower’s elevator doors. But, overall, “the structure held up well,” Sarafin said.

After Orion completes half an orbit around the moon, it will slingshot itself around the moon toward home.

One of the main tests will come as the spacecraft reenters Earth’s atmosphere, traveling at about 25,000 mph. Friction with condensed air will produce temperatures up to 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

The spacecraft is expected to splash into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego on December 11.

Although there are no real-life astronauts on the Artemis I mission, there is a mannequin named Munikin Campos who rides in the commander’s seat of the Orion spacecraft. It’s equipped with a suit and sensors to provide feedback on what the ride will be like for future astronauts.

The seat has two sensors to record acceleration and vibration. The spacesuit has sensors to record radiation levels.

The name “Munikin” was chosen through a public competition. was chosen in honor of Campos Arthur FieldsA former NASA engineer who played a key role during the recovery After the Apollo 13 spacecraft mission went awry.

Two mannequin torsos are also mounted side by side. Named Zohar and Helga, they are made from material that NASA says “mimics human bone, soft tissue and the organs of an adult woman.” (Women are thought to be more sensitive to radiation exposure than men.)

They have sensors to measure radiation. Zohar has a radiation vest, but Helgar does not.

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