Artemis 1. Orion's ship returns to Earth.  Now it's time for the hardest part of the job

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The Orion ship is heading straight for Earth now. Now it’s time for the hardest part of the job

Just a few weeks ago NASA It was in trouble, because the agency’s main mission – the lunar Artemis 1 – had constant problems. strong Rocket Twice the SLS did not start due to technical problems, and then the start was delayed twice due to upcoming problems Tornadoes.

NASA had to hurry, because in December the expiration date of the SLS rocket’s side boosters passed. Finally, the launch was successful on November 16th, and since then the Artemis 1 mission has been going as planned.

Orion fired the engine one last time and almost “wipe” the surface of the moon

The Orion spacecraft has been in space for three weeks and has been in the lunar gravitational zone for the past two weeks. For the past few days, NASA has been flooding us with beautiful pictures taken near the Silver Globe.

Images from the Orion spacecraft taken on day 20 of the Artemis 1 mission Photo NASA Johnson/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0/

Now another important mission has been accomplished, which means Artemis 1 is coming to an end. On Monday evening, Orion made its second (and final) approach to the Moon, passing just 129.7 km from the surface of the natural satellite. This is only about a kilometer away from the first close flight 21 November (6th Mission Day).

Moments later, NASA ignited the service module main engine (provided by the European Space Agency, by the way) for the Orion spacecraft for 3 minutes and 27 seconds, allowing it to leave lunar orbit. This was the last use of this engine during the Artemis 1 mission. After this maneuver, Orion left the Silver Globe’s gravitational zone of influence and headed toward Earth.

Orion is heading home! Today, the team achieved another remarkable feat by flying Orion just 80 miles from the lunar surface. Flying over the moon allowed the spacecraft to take advantage of the moon’s gravity and point it back toward Earth for the crash.

– he wrote in the letter Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator.

The hardest test is yet to come. Orion will soon enter Earth’s atmosphere

Orion is already running a path Returning to Earth, her journey will last about five more days. On December 11, the most important phase of NASA’s mission, re-entry into the atmosphere, will begin. Especially in the case of manned flights, this is the most difficult and dangerous stage of space missions.

Orion will enter the atmosphere very quickly and then start losing it due to air resistance. You will land under a parachute in the waters of the Pacific Ocean near the city of San Diego, California. It will be caught from the ocean by the US Navy ship USS Portland.

Returning to Earth’s atmosphere in a few days, Orion will warm up and accelerate faster than ever before – a public test before astronauts are put aboard

Note Bill Nelson.

Last week, NASA conducted a rehearsal for the rescue of the spacecraft by the USS Portland. The floating Orion will be attached to the ship’s crane by divers, and after drying it will be placed on a specially designed platform.

If the landing goes according to plan, NASA will have an open path to the Artemis 2 mission, which will send the first astronauts into lunar orbit in more than half a century. The Artemis 2 mission, planned for May 2024, and the Artemis 3 mission, which is scheduled to land on the Silver Globe in 2025.

You can find more about the Artemis 1 mission at

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