NASA’s unmanned mission called Artemis 1 made history on Monday as the Orion spacecraft reached the farthest distance ever achieved by a spacecraft from Earth: 434,522 kilometers (270,000 miles). In this way, he exceeded the record distance of Apollo 13, since this day marked the half of the journey which began in Florida on November 16.
Rick Labrode, Artemis I flight director, confirmed at a press conference held at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, that at 4:06 p.m. “an important step” has been taken with the distance traveled by Orion and his three mannequins on board, since their departure from Kennedy Space Center, in Cape Canaveral.
The Orion capsule, traveling at 5,102 mph (8,200 km/h), thus broke the record for the greatest distance traveled from Earth by any spacecraft designed to be inhabited by humans, according to NASA.
While flying in a far lunar retrograde orbit, meaning it’s far from the Moon and in orbit opposite to that satellite’s path around Earth, the Orion spacecraft continues to transmit live, high-resolution images.
According to Space.com, the new images represent the highest definition live view from beyond the Moon to date, although several Apollo missions were broadcast from this area in the 1960s and 1970s, it said. -he adds.
“Artemis paves the way for living and working in deep space in a harsh environment and ultimately bringing humans to Mars,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said.
On the thirteenth day of the Artemis 1 flight, after traveling hundreds of thousands of miles around the Moon in the Orion spacecraft, the ship’s commander, model Moonikin Campos, assured via Twitter that he had “a day very busy” take selfies with the moon in the background and collecting data from lunar orbit.
The model, who is also a superhero in a NASA comic book, takes its name in honor of American Arturo Campos, a Mexican-born electrical engineer who was “fundamental” in saving the planet. crew of Apollo 13, according to the United States. space agency.
Last Friday, Orion entered a distant lunar orbitwhere the spacecraft will stay for around a week testing various systems in a deep space environment, some 40,000 miles above the lunar surface, before beginning the journey back to Earth.
A week ago, the mission reached another milestone, its closest lunar approach, flying just 128 km above the lunar surface.
Orion due to return to Earth on December 11 with a splashdown off California, in the Pacific Ocean, after a journey of 25 days, 11 hours and 36 minutes, according to NASA data.
The overall goal of the Artemis program is to establish a base on the Moon as a preliminary step to reaching Mars in the future. To do this, after Artemis I, NASA will launch Artemis II into lunar orbit in 2024, with a crew. Liftoff of Artemis III is scheduled for 2025, a mission in which the astronauts, including a woman, would touch down on the satellite.
Artemis 1 and a delayed game
NASA had to delay the departure of the mission four times, twice for technical reasons and two others for weather reasons. After some mechanical and meteorological setbacks – which forced the launch to be postponed four times – NASA’s Artemis I mission took off on Wednesday 16 of this monthat 3:47 a.m. Argentina time.
The green light was confirmed after the day’s inspections revealed no structural damage, following the passage of Hurricane Nicole in Florida. A few hours before takeoff, the fuel tank of the Space Launch System (SLS), the monumental rocket responsible for launching the mission, was filled.
Meanwhile, NASA channels began broadcasting content related to the operation ten hours in advance, including any news about the status and progress of the mission.
Artemis departed from Launch Complex 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA, with an inclination of 28.5 degrees toward the equator.
Finally, the SLS, the largest and most powerful of all NASA rockets, taller than a 30-story building (322 feet or 98 meters), lifted off from Florida powering Orion. Billed as an uncrewed flight test, Artemis I is the first in a series of “increasingly complex” missions aimed at developing a long-term human presence on the Moon for decades to come.
How was the launch
When the launch was complete, the boosters detached and the core stage of the launch system separated from the spacecraft, leaving Orion attached to an Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) that will propel it to the Moon.
It is a maneuver known as “translunar injection” with which a point around the satellite aims precisely to guide Orion close enough to be captured by the lunar gravity.
Two hours after the start, Orion will separate from this stage to continue on its way to the Moon powered by a module from the European Space Agency (ESA) which will correct its trajectory on the way if necessary.
With information from EFE.