NASA’s Artemis I Mission Return Trip Lunar Flyby


On Dec. 5, NASA will air the lunar flyby of the Orion spacecraft on its return trek toward Earth. Orion completed a burn Dec. 1 to exit a lunar orbit thousands of miles beyond the Moon, where engineers have been testing systems to improve understanding of the spacecraft before future missions with astronauts. The return powered flyby burn, in which the spacecraft will harness the Moon’s gravity and accelerate back toward Earth, is expected at 11:43 a.m. (1643 UTC) The spacecraft is expected to fly about 79 miles above the lunar surface at 11:42 a.m. (16:42 UTC) just before the burn.

Orion launched aboard the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket at 1:47 am EST (0647 UTC) on Nov. 16 from historic Launch Complex 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Orion entered a distant retrograde orbit on at 4:52 p.m. EST (2152 UTC) on Nov. 25, where the spacecraft has been testing systems in a deep space environment.

The Artemis I mission is the first integrated test of NASA’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, the SLS rocket, and Kennedy Space Center ground systems.


Credit: NASA

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