NASA Shares Orion’s Close Encounter With Moon On Its Return Flight

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NASA Shares Orion’s Close Encounter With Moon On Its Return Flight
Photo Credit: Jim Free/Twitter

NASA has released astounding footage that shows the Orion spacecraft passing over the Moon at an altitude of mere 687 miles. The Orion spacecraft was on a test flight as part of the Artemis I Moon mission that aims to put back astronauts on the lunar surface.

 

The flyby also took Orion to within 79 miles of the lunar surface at one point. The spacecraft spent around three weeks after it left Earth, and is currently on its way back. Orion had a similar close encounter with the Moon last month as well.

Artemis I Mission Homecoming

As you can hear in the video’s commentary, the footage of the flyby was taken just before an engine thrust that will set Orion on its way back to our planet later this week. NASA official Jim Free later shared an astonishing image showing the Moon and Earth, confirming the success of the engine burn.

The Orion spacecraft escaped Earth’s gravity on November 16 aboard NASA’s uber-expensive Space Launch System. It is the most powerful rocket ever to embrace the skies.

The Artemis I mission has been launched to test the rocket and spaceship before sending a crewed mission on the same path. It means several lucky astronauts will get the opportunity to enjoy these incredible views during future Artemis missions.

Building A Permanent Home On Moon

NASA Artemis program’s ultimate goal is to set up a permanent base on the lunar surface where astronauts will be able to live and carry out scientific experiments. It will be similar to how they work on the International Space Station.

The Moon base could also prove helpful in launching the first crewed missions to Mars, which the marquess space agency believes could take place in the 2030s. As for the current Artemis I mission, it has managed to exceed expectations with both the Orion spacecraft and the SLS rocket performing at their best.

If NASA manages to pull off the last leg of the journey successfully, it will aim to launch the crewed Artemis II mission in 2024. However, astronauts will set foot on the Moon only with the Artemis III mission, which could take some time. The mission will put astronauts on the lunar surface after five decades.

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