NASA’s Orion spacecraft has spotted the destination of its Artemis 1 test flight to the moon, capturing stunning video to mark the moment.
In a video released Friday (Nov. 18), the half-lit moon is visible in the distance with the Orion spacecraft in the foreground, complete with NASA’s “worm” logo, as seen through a camera on the tip of one of the capsules. four solar wings. At the time, Orion was about halfway to the moon, NASA said in a statement.
“On the third day of the Artemis I mission, Orion maneuvered its solar panels and captured the moon with a camera at the end of the array,” NASA wrote in the video description. (opens in new tab).
NASA launched Orion on its uncrewed Artemis 1 mission Wednesday (Nov. 16) atop the agency’s first Space Launch System (SLS), which is now the world’s most powerful rocket. Orion will fly a 25-day trip to the moon and back on a shakedown cruise returning to Earth on December 11. NASA is using the mission as a flight test for its Artemis program to see if the SLS rocket and Orion are ready to fly astronauts to the moon, with a manned lunar landing planned for 2025.
The video is the latest stunning image of Orion, which is equipped with 24 cameras scattered around the exterior, solar panels and interior to capture its historic test flight.
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In the hours just after launch, Orion captured a crescent from Earth that was left behind as it made its way to the moon. Check it out below.
NASA has also launched a new Artemis All-Access video series that will provide weekly updates on the mission as it ventures to the moon and back.
The first episode, which NASA also dropped on Friday, details the first three days of the Artemis 1 mission, including stunning footage of spacecraft separation from the upper stage of the SLS rocket, milestones in the cubesat deployment, and a update from NASA’s Dan Huot on how the mission has gone so far. Watch the video below to watch it.
As of the start of Saturday (Nov. 19), the Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft was 216,391 miles (348,247 miles). kilometers) from Earth, 93,048 miles (149,746 km) from the moon and cruising through space at 995 mph (1,601 kph), according to NASA. You can track Orion on its mission through space at NASA’s Track Artemis website (opens in new tab).
So far, Orion’s flight has been relatively smooth, with NASA mission managers saying it has exceeded their expectations, despite minor hiccups as engineers learned how the spacecraft performs in deep space.
On Monday morning (Nov. 21), the Artemis 1 Orion will make its closest approach to the moon in a flyby, coming within 60 miles (100 km) of the moon as it prepares for its full, looping orbit.
NASA will broadcast the Artemis 1 lunar flight live starting at 7:15 a.m. EST (1215 GMT), with the closest approach time scheduled for just after 7:57 a.m. EST (1257 GMT). Orion will enter its final orbit around the moon on Nov. 25 at 4:52 p.m. EST (2152 GMT), with NASA coverage beginning at 4:30 p.m. EST (2130 GMT). You can watch NASA’s Artemis 1 Orion webcasts live on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV.
Email Tariq Malik at [email protected] (opens in new tab) or follow him @tariqjmalik (opens in new tab). follow us @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab), Facebook (opens in new tab) and Instagram (opens in new tab).