Science

NASA’s Orion crew vehicle has successfully completed a lunar flyby

NASA’s Orion crew vehicle has successfully completed a lunar flyby

NASA’s Orion crew vehicle has successfully completed a lunar flyby

NASA’s Orion spacecraft has one of the key maneuvers of your first trip: during which it came as close as 81 miles to the surface of the Moon. This was important for several reasons, not least because it marked a critical test for the propulsion system.

performed four trajectory correction burns on its way to the Moon, but this time the Orbital Maneuvering System engine fired for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. This accelerated the Orion to a speed in excess of 580 MPH. At the time the burn began, the unmanned spacecraft was traveling at 5023 MPH, 238 miles above the Moon. Shortly after the burn, it was 81 miles above the surface of the Moon and traveling at 5102 MPH.

The flyby was one of two necessary maneuvers for Orion to enter its retrograde orbit around the Moon. Next up is retrograde insertion into distance, which will take place on Friday at 4:52 PM ET. Orion will remain in this orbit for about a week to test various systems, including guidance, navigation, communications, power and thermal control. It should be noted that Orion’s distant retrograde orbit will take it 40,000 miles past the Moon. The spacecraft is scheduled to return to Earth on December 11.

will reveal more details about the flyby and offer updates on post-launch assessments for the rocket’s Space Launch System and Exploration Ground Systems (including the launch tower) at a press conference on Monday at 5:00 PM ET. Meanwhile, engineers investigated RAM errors in the star tracking system, which were resolved by power cycles. Another team investigated a problem that caused one of the eight service mobile units that supply the solar array to the crew module to open without command on several occasions. there was no mission impact as a result of these hiccups.

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