Washington : The Orion spacecraft of the American space agency NASA has left for Earth after completing the Moon mission. The Orion spacecraft flew close to the Moon on Monday and used a gravity assist to return to Earth. With this, the return journey for the Artemis-1 mission has begun.
NASA’s uncrewed Orion spacecraft flew less than 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its closest point. During this, communication with the capsule was also interrupted for 30 minutes on reaching the Moon. “We couldn’t be more pleased with how the spacecraft is performing,” said Debbie Korth, deputy manager of the Orion program. But when communication was restored, spectacular footage flashed on the screen. Everyone in the room kept watching this footage.
Monday was the last day of the mission. NASA’s Mega Moon rocket SLS lifted off from Florida on 16 November. From beginning to end, this journey lasted for about 25 and a half days. The Orion spacecraft is expected to land in the Pacific Ocean off San Diego on December 11 at 9:40 a.m. local time. Here it will be mounted on a US Navy ship.
Earlier during the mission, Orion spent about six days in a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon. This means traveling at higher altitudes and opposite to the direction of the Moon. A week ago, Orion broke the record for the distance of 280,000 miles (450,000 kilometers) from our planet. Once it returns to Earth, Orion will have traveled more than 1.4 million miles, said Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission manager. It is noteworthy that NASA is working on a plan to land astronauts on the Moon in 2025.