The Orion spacecraft NASA’s uncrewed crew has sent back its first images of Earth as it heads toward a moon encounter as part of the historic Artemis I mission.
A video feed from a camera attached to the spacecraft captured Earth gradually coming into view several hours after launch:
It is the first time a human-rated spacecraft has captured distant images of Earth since the last Apollo mission in 1972. “The views of our blue marble in the darkness of space are now capturing the imagination of a new generation, the Artemis generation. said a NASA commentator.
the orion launched on the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida early Wednesday morning, November 16.
With 8.8 million pounds of thrust at launch, the SLS rocket is the most powerful ever launched into space. The 25-day mission, ending with Orion crashing down on the California coast, will test key technologies for upcoming crewed Artemis missions as NASA seeks to establish a permanent lunar base on the lunar surface.
In the next few hours, Orion will also deploy 10 small science research and technology demos, called CubeSats.
“Each CubeSat has its own mission that has the potential to fill gaps in our knowledge of the solar system or demonstrate technologies that can benefit the design of future missions to explore the moon and beyond,” NASA said.
After a series of burns to keep it on course, Orion is expected to fly close to the moon on Monday, November 21, making a close approach to the lunar surface as it heads toward a distant retrograde orbit, a highly stable orbit thousands of miles away. miles beyond our celestial neighbor.
“It’s taken a long time to get here, but Orion is now on its way to the moon,” Jim Free, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, said Wednesday. “This successful launch means NASA and our partners are well on their way to exploring farther into space than ever before for the benefit of humanity.”
You can follow the progress of the Orion spacecraft throughout its mission on a special NASA website.