July 22, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Milestone in space history: Orion lands safely in the ocean after circumnavigating the Moon

Milestone in space history: Orion lands safely in the ocean after circumnavigating the Moon

NASA’s Orion spacecraft, an American spacecraft launched in mid-November, has successfully landed in the Pacific Ocean.

The unmanned Orion capsule has been on the road for 26 days. First, it determined the trajectory of the Moon, then circled it and returned to our planet. (Initially, the task was supposed to take about 42 days, as the chart below indicates.) At its farthest point, Orion was 270,000 miles from Earth.

Upon its return, Orion entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of 40,000 kilometers per hour. About five miles above the water, Orion’s 11th parachute opened, which at the time was still descending at about 310 miles per hour. In the end, the capsule safely plunged into the water at a speed of 30 kilometers per hour in the place where NASA employees had planned. In future crewed missions, NASA will pick up the astronauts by Navy ships after landing.

Final rehearsal

This was the first mission of the American-led international Artemis program. It wants to return people to the Moon again in 2025 at the earliest, and eventually develop some form of permanent presence there.

During this mission, the Orion capsule was tested extensively, from launch to return, completely unmanned – although a few exhibitors wore astronaut suits and, above all, many measuring sensors traveled with it. A manned flight to the Moon with a second Artemis mission is planned for 2024 (without landing there, however). So there will be at least a year longer for the moon landings for the Artemis 3 mission.