Artemis 1 begins its journey back to the Planet

Artemis 1 is scheduled to complete its mission on December 11, with the Orion capsule landing on our planet.

NASA’s Artemis 1 mission spacecraft Orion, which lifted off on November 16, has left its distant lunar orbit and is on its return journey to Earth, culminating on December 11.

The spacecraft successfully completed the distant retrograde orbit departure burn at 2153 UTC on December 1, firing its main engine for 1 minute and 45 seconds to put the spacecraft on course for a close lunar flyby before return. to home.

The engine firing changed the Orion’s speed by approximately 138 meters per second and was performed using the Orion main engine in the European Service Module.

It is a veteran orbital maneuvering system engine design modified for use on Orion and built by Aerojet Rocketdyne.

The engine has the capacity to provide 6,000 pounds of thrust. The proven engine flying on Artemis I flew on 19 Space Shuttle flights, beginning with STS-41G in October 1984 and ending with STS-112 in October 2002.

This is one of two required maneuvers before Orion’s splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on December 11.

The second will occur on Monday, December 5, when the spacecraft will fly 127 kilometers above the lunar surface and perform the powered return flyby burn, which will set Orion on its course toward Earth.

The teams also continued thermal testing of the star trackers during their eighth and final planned test.

Star trackers are a navigation tool that measure the positions of the stars to help the spacecraft determine its orientation.

In the mission’s first three days of flight, engineers evaluated initial data to understand star tracker readings correlated with thruster firings.

At 22:30 UTC on November 1, Orion was traveling 382,000 kilometers from Earth and 85,000 kilometers from the Moon, sailing at 3,700 kilometers per hour, NASA reports on the mission blog.

Artemis 1 is the first integrated flight test of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, an uncrewed Orion spacecraft, and ground systems at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center.

The mission will pave the way for a crewed test flight and future human lunar exploration as part of the Artemis program. (Europe Press)