NASA’s Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft will arrive in lunar orbit on Friday afternoon (November 25), and you can watch the crucial moment live.
Orion It has been making its circuitous way to Earth’s nearest neighbor ever since Launching last Wednesday (November 16) in NASA Artemis 1 The mission – and the unmanned capsule is about to reach its destination.
On Friday at 4:52 p.m. EDT (2152 GMT), Orion is scheduled to fire an engine that will put the spacecraft into a distant retrograde orbit (DRO) around the moon. You can catch all the action live here on Space.com, courtesy of NASA, starting at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2130 GMT).
DRO Orion will take about 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers) behind the moon at its farthest point. As it travels this trajectory, the capsule will set a new record, getting farther from Earth than any previous human-class spacecraft.
The current mark of 248,655 miles (400,171 km) is maintained by NASA Apollo 13 mission, which was not intended to travel that far. Apollo 13 orbited the Moon instead of landing on the object after the spacecraft’s Deep Space Service Module oxygen tank failed.
Orion will spend just under a week at DRO. The capsule will leave lunar orbit with an engine burning out on December 1, and then begin its return to Earth. Orion will arrive here on December 11 with a splash in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California, if all goes well.
The roughly 26-day Artemis 1 mission is designed to examine the massive Orion and NASA mission Space launch system The rocket, which sent the capsule into the sky last week, is ahead of planned manned flights to the Moon.
These astronauts’ first flights, Artemis 2will send Orion around the moon in 2024. Artemis 3 It will then boot up near the moon’s south pole in 2025 or 2026. More landing missions will follow, as NASA builds a crewed research site in the south polar region—a major goal for Artemis program.
Mike Wall is the author of “Abroad (Opens in a new tab)Book (Major Grand Publishers, 2018; illustration by Carl Tate), a book about the search for aliens. Follow him on Twitter @employee (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @employee (Opens in a new tab) or Facebook (Opens in a new tab).
“Certified music scholar. Freelance analyst. Social mediaholic. Hipster-friendly web nerd. Zombie buff.”