NASA’s Artemis 1 finishes 25-day voyage around the moon with splashdown off California – live photos revealed
THE Artemis 1 spacecraft has completed its 25-day voyage around the moon.
Nasa’s Orion capsule used in the mission has landed off Baja, California.
Artemis 1 touched down at 12.40 and 30seconds EST on Sunday.
The mission ended exactly 50 years after the final Apollo moon landing in 1972.
The unpiloted capsule was launched on November 16, leaving Earth and heading towards the moon to perform a series of tests as the spacecraft orbited around the moon.
It traveled 268,563 miles farther from Earth than any other human-rated spacecraft.
“We’ve collected an immense amount of data characterizing system performance from the power system, the propulsion, GNC (guidance, navigation and control),” Jim Geffre, the Orion vehicle integration manager told CBS.
“So far, the flight control team has downlinked to over 140 gigabytes of engineering and imagery data,” he said.
According to Geffre, the data is already being analyzed “to help not only understand the performance on Artemis 1, but play forward for all subsequent missions,” he said.
One of the concerns about the spacecraft’s landing was its 16.5ft-wide heat shield.
“There is no arc jet or aerothermal facility here on Earth capable of replicating hypersonic reentry with a heat shield of this size,” mission manager Mike Safarin told the outlet.
“And it is a brand new heat shield design, and it is a safety-critical piece of equipment. It is designed to protect the spacecraft and (future astronauts) … so the heat shield needs to work.”
Nasa plans to send four astronauts around the moon in the second flight of the program known as Artemis 2.
Artemis 2 is tentatively scheduled for 2024.
The space agency has even bigger plans for the future.
Nasa hopes that the first woman and person of color will land on the moon during its Artemis missions.
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