Orion capsule 472,000 km from Earth

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Orion capsule 472,000 km from Earth

During the lunar mission “Artemis 1”, the space capsule “Orion” has penetrated further into space than any spacecraft made for humans ever before. Almost two weeks after its launch, it was more than 432,000 kilometers from Earth on Monday, the American space agency NASA reports via Twitter.

The previous record was set more than 50 years ago by the “Apollo 13” mission with 248,655 miles (about 400,170 kilometers), according to a statement. NASA had already reported on Friday that the unmanned capsule had started its engines as planned during its test flight and was thrown into orbit around the moon.

This orbit is about 80,000 kilometers from the surface of the moon, therefore “Orion” needs six days for a half orbit. The capsule will orbit the moon in a direction opposite to that in which the moon orbits the earth. According to NASA, this orbit has the advantage that it is very stable and that “Orion” consumes relatively little fuel on it.

Rest for “Artemis 1” mission
Images sent to Earth from more than 300,000 kilometers away show the moon’s perspective, with Earth visible only as a small blue ball in the background. The success of the “Orion” also means peace for the mission “Artemis 1”.

The “Artemis 1” mission took off for a first test launch on November 16 (local time) after months of delays. The “Orion” capsule (pictured below) was launched with the “Space Launch System” (SLS) rocket from the Cape Canaveral cosmodrome in the US state of Florida. A few days ago, the capsule had approached the moon about 130 kilometers – it will not come that close to the moon again during the entire test mission.

Landing on Earth scheduled for December 11
Artemis 1 is powered by the European Service Module (ESM), which also provides electricity, water and air and keeps the spacecraft at the right temperature. The unmanned capsule would be en route for about two weeks before it is expected to return to Earth on December 11 after flying about two million miles. The propulsion and supply unit must be separated from the crew module on reentry and burn up in the atmosphere.

The current mission will be followed by “Artemis 2” with astronauts on board in 2024. Another flight should take place in 2025 at the earliest, with humans actually setting foot on the moon. The last humans to date flew to the moon in 1972 with the Apollo 17 mission.

In all, the US was the only country to date to put 12 astronauts on the moon on their “Apollo” flights between 1969 and 1972 – all men. With the ‘Artemis’ program, named after the Greek goddess of the moon, American astronauts should land on the moon again in the coming years, including a woman and a non-white for the first time.

Source: Krone

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