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NASA’s Artemis 1 mission leaves distant retrograde orbit for return to Earth

NASA's Artemis 1 mission's Orion spacecraft fired its thrusters for close to two minutes to leave a distant retrograde orbit of the Moon.

NASA | Artemis 1 | OrionA camera mounted on one of Orion's solar arrays captured this image of the Moon as the spacecraft prepared to leave the distant retrogade orbit. (Image credit: NASA)

NASA has fired up the main engine for the Orion spacecraft, which is part of the Artemis 1 mission. The engine was fired up about one minute and 45 seconds to depart a distant retrograde orbit of the Moon at 3.23 AM IST on December 2. This engine burn is one of the two manoeuvres required before Orion’s planned splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on December 11. Next, the spacecraft will fly about 127 kilometres above the surface of the Moon on Monday, December 5.

In the meanwhile, mission teams continued the thermal tests of star trackers. These star trackers are navigation tools that measure the position of the stars to help Orion calculate its orientation in space.

On Saturday, November 26, the Orion spacecraft broke the record for the farthest distance from Earth travelled by a human-rated spacecraft when it went 258,655 miles away.

This record was earlier held by the Apollo 13 spacecraft, which travelled 248,655 miles away from our planet. The halfway mark of the mission was passed on November 29 (day 13 of the mission).

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First published on: 02-12-2022 at 11:14 IST
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