On the 11th day of the flight, NASA’s Orion spacecraft took pictures of Earth from a camera mounted on one of its solar panels. Photo: NASA.
The Orion spacecraft has just broken a record set in 1970 by the crew of the aborted Apollo 13 moon landing mission.
On Saturday, Orion was on day 11 of the Artemis I mission. The craft entered a deep retrograde orbit, where it will remain for six days before returning to Earth, with a scheduled splashdown in the Pacific on Sunday, December 11.
We remind you that Artemis I is preparing for the manned mission Artemis II.
430,000 kilometers from Earth
According to NASA, this weekend Orion broke the record for the longest flight of a spacecraft designed to carry people into deep space and back to Earth. This record was set during the Apollo 13 mission almost 40,000 kilometers from Earth.
Apollo 13 was supposed to be NASA’s third moon landing, but the mission was aborted after an explosion and the loss of three fuel cells on the third day of the flight. The explosion of the service module caused a swarm of debris, which prevented navigation from seeing the real stars, and the temperature of the spacecraft dropped to 3.33 ° C.
“At its maximum distance from the Moon, Orion will be over 270,000 miles (or over 430,000 kilometers) from Earth on Monday, November 28,” NASA said in a statement.
The flight of Artemis I has so far proceeded smoothly after three failed launch attempts by the Space Launch System. However, last week NASA experienced an unplanned loss of communication with Orion for 47 minutes.
Apollo 13, “successful failure”
On Saturday, NASA engineers performed the first orbital maintenance launch, firing the Orion Service Module’s auxiliary engines. Planned orbital repairs will refine Orion’s trajectory throughout its entire orbit around the Moon, according to NASA.
The Munikin aboard the Artemis I is named Campos after Arturo Campos, the NASA engineer who played a key role in the return of Apollo 13 to Earth. Hardware.
Arthur Campos and other members of the Mission Evaluation Room developed a new procedure in record time to redirect power from the Lunar Module’s power sources to the Command Module’s backup batteries and on duty. This helped keep the astronauts warm and land safely on Earth. It is thanks to his work that today we can qualify Apollo 13 as a “fortunate failure”.
“Commander Munikin Campos is equipped with sensors to provide data on what crew members might experience in flight, continuing Campos’ legacy of allowing humans to explore deep space,” NASA explains. Munikin is not the only passenger on the flight. Other passengers include Snoopy, Shaun the Sheep and several Lego figures.
“NASA will lead collaboration with international and commercial partners to establish the first long-term presence on the Moon. Then we’ll use what we’ve learned on and around the Moon to take the next giant leap: send the first astronauts to Mars.