NASA's Orion Spacecraft Enters Moon Orbit As Test Flight Gets Close To Halfway Mark
On Friday, as its test mission approached its halfway point, NASA's Orion spacecraft enters Moon orbit stretching tens of thousands of kilometers around the moon. More than a week after launching on the $4 billion demonstration that is designed to pave the path for humans, the spacecraft and its three test dummies reached lunar orbit.
More than a week after launching on the $4 billion demonstration that is designed to pave the path for humans, the spacecraft and its three test dummies reached lunar orbit. For over a week, it will stay in this wide but steady orbit, doing a full circuit before returning home.
On Friday, an engine firing put the capsule at a distance of 238,000 miles (380,000 kilometers) from the Earth. Within the next several days, it is anticipated that it would reach its maximum distance of about 432,000 kilometers (270,000 miles). That will establish a new record for the most distance traveled by a capsule that is intended to one day transport humans.
It is a metaphor for what it signifies. It’s about challenging ourselves to go farther, stay longer and push beyond the limits of what we’ve previously explored.- Jim Geffre, NASA
NASA views this as a dress rehearsal for the next lunar flyby, which will include humans and take place in 2024. The first humans to set foot on the moon may do it as soon as the year 2025. Apollo 17, which occurred fifty years ago, was the last time humans set foot on the moon.
In the earlier part of the week, Mission Control in Houston was unable to maintain communication with the capsule for close to an hour. The controllers were making some adjustments to the communication connection that connected Orion and the Deep Space Network at the time. The spacecraft was deemed to be in good healthby the officials.
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For the first time in half a century, the United States space agency NASA was able to send a rover to the surface of the moon as its Orion spacecraft successfully traveled around the moon's far side. Eric Sorensen describes how the accomplishment of this mile marker brings mankind one step closer to beginning a new era of lunar exploration.