NASA Orion Spacecraft Is On Track To Begin Moon Flyby On Nov. 21st

The agency anticipates that Artemis 1 will arrive at the Moon on November 21st. The spacecraft will then perform the first of four main engine burns planned by NASA for the mission.

NASA Orion Spacecraft Is On Track To Begin Moon Flyby On Nov. 21st - RAVZGADGET
NASA Orion Spacecraft Is On Track To Begin Moon Flyby On Nov. 21st.

On its way to the Moon, the Orion crew vehicle is exceeding expectations. Following the mission’s successful launch early Wednesday morning, NASA provided an update on Artemis 1.

“Orion has performed admirably thus far,” said Vehicle Integration Manager Jim Geffre at a press conference held by NASA on Friday. “All of the systems outperform expectations in terms of performance.”

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The goal of Artemis 1 is to confirm that the crew vehicle can safely transport human astronauts to Earth’s natural satellite. This is Orion’s first trip beyond our planet’s orbit.

The spacecraft completed a two-orbit test flight around Earth in 2014. A successful flight would pave the way for NASA’s first crewed lunar landing since Apollo 17 in 1972.

The agency anticipates that Artemis 1 will arrive at the Moon on November 21st. The spacecraft will then perform the first of four main engine burns planned by NASA for the mission.

Orion will fly just 81 miles (130 kilometers) above the lunar surface at times. “We’ll be flying over some Apollo landing sites,” Flight Director Jeff Radigan explained.

NASA intends to perform a second burn four days later to place Orion in a distant orbit around the Moon before finally putting the spacecraft on a return trajectory toward Earth. If everything goes as planned, Orion will touch down in the Pacific Ocean on December 11th.

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After the problems with NASA’s Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket, Orion’s early successes are a welcome development. The launch of Artemis 1 was repeatedly postponed due to engine problems, hydrogen fuel leaks, and hurricane-force winds.

The agency appeared to be forced to delay the mission again early Wednesday morning after the SLS ground team discovered a leak in one of the fuel lines on the rocket’s launch tower.

However, after some bolts were tightened by NASA personnel, the SLS lifted off, creating a spectacular nighttime display.

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