In the next few hours NASA will make a lunar flyby of Orion, the spacecraft is the same one that will carry humans on a future mission. The mission, dubbed Artemis 1, is intended to demonstrate Orion systems in a spaceflight environment and ensure safe reentry, descent, splashdown, and recovery prior to the first crewed flight on Artemis II.
Where and at what time can you see the lunar flyby of Orion?
The time of the flyby is scheduled for November 21, 7:15 am ET (12:15 UTC). Coverage of the closest lunar approach to Orion, just 128 kilometers above the surface. For your reference, the International Space Station 400 kilometers above the earth’s surface, which means that the Orion spacecraft will come much closer than that on our natural satellite.
NASA will provide live coverage of the powered departure flight on Monday, November 21 at 5:15 am EST. Ignition will occur at 7:44 a.m., with Orion’s closest approach shortly thereafter at 7:57 a.m. Live NASA television coverage of the distant retrograde orbit insertion ignition on Friday, the 25th November, it will begin at 4:30 pm The push-on will occur at 4:52 pm You can see it in the video below.
Orion’s entry into the lunar sphere of influence will make the Moon, rather than Earth, the main gravitational force acting on the spacecraft. Flight controllers will conduct an exit flight to harness the pull of the Moon’s gravity, accelerate the spacecraft and steer it into a distant retrograde orbit beyond the Moon. During the departure flight, Orion will make its closest approach – approximately 80 miles – to the lunar surface. Four days later, another European Service Module burn will insert Orion into a far retrograde orbit, where it will remain for about a week to test the spacecraft’s systems.
This comes after the successful launch of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS). Now Orion is on its way to the Moon as the first mission of the Artemis program. The rocket lifted off for the Orion uncrewed flight test at 1:47 a.m. EST on November 16 from Launch Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Why go back to the Moon?
According to NASA, the goal is to seek scientific discoveries, economic benefits, and inspire a new generation of explorers. Likewise, it hopes to maintain the leadership in exploration, seeking to build a global alliance and explore deep space for the benefit of all.
The Artemis missions will be responsible for bringing the man and the first woman back to the lunar surface. Collaborating with commercial and international partners, the agency plans to establish the first long-term presence on the Moon using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before.
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