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NASA Artemis I Mission Spacecraft Sets New Space Record
NASA’s Orion capsule has registered itself in the history books. The spacecraft has set a new distance record for craft built to ferry humans to space. The uncrewed capsule is currently in a distant retrograde orbit (DRO) around the moon. It reached a point 268,553 miles beyond our planet, the furthest it is meant to travel during the Artemis I mission.
The Orion also broke the long-standing record of 248,655 miles for the furthest distance from Earth traveled by a human-controlled spacecraft. The previous record was set by Apollo 13 which was launched five decades ago.
So far from home, farthest a spacecraft built for humans has ever travelled from our home planet. @NASA_Orion #Artemis-1 today at nearly 270,000 miles from #Earth 1/2 way through the mission timeline. Splashdown targeted for 11 Dec. https://t.co/AkRzSbRVrP— Randy Bresnik (@AstroKomrade) November 28, 2022
Most Powerful Space Vehicle
November 16 saw the launch of the Artemis I mission from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It is basically a test run before a crewed flight takes off in 2024. NASA also shared an astonishing image of the Orion spacecraft, with the Moon and Earth in the background.
DRO is a stable orbit where the spacecraft won’t require a lot of fuel, allowing the space agency to fully test the capsule’s systems in an environment away from our planet. Last week, the spacecraft made its closest approach, where it came within just around 129km of the Moon.
NASA leveraged its latest Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to ferry the Orion capsule into space. The rocket packed 8.8 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. SLS is the most powerful space vehicle to have ever escaped Earth’s gravity.
Is Orion Delivering As Intended?
Recently, NASA said that the performance of the Orion spacecraft has “exceeded expectations.” If everything goes according to NASA’s plan, the capsule will splash down on the coast of California on December 11.
NASA will soon start preparing for the crewed Artemis II mission, and also the much-anticipated Artemis III mission, which will put the first woman and first person of color on the Moon.
NASA also plans to build a human base on the lunar surface, which will allow astronauts to spend an extended amount of time working on the Moon, similar to how crews stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
NASA Building Lunar RV For Astronauts
NASA is also testing a new lunar rover for astronauts to travel across the lunar terrain. To navigate on the lunar surface, the rover will be capable of spinning, driving sideways, and even climbing on a foot-tall rock using its robust wheels, reports 12News.
However, that’s not the best part about the rover. The pressurized cabin is something of a highlight feature of the rover, which NASA has compared to a recreational vehicle (RV).