ORLANDO, Fla. – NASA is set to bring its latest update on the Artemis I mission on Monday as the mission is now at its midway point.
NASA will host a news conference at 5 pm on Monday, Nov. 28, from the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to discuss the status of the uncrewed Artemis I flight test as the Orion spacecraft reaches the midpoint of its moon mission and its farthest distance from Earth at nearly 270,000 miles away.
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Orion entered a distant lunar orbit on at 4:52 pm on Friday, Nov. 25, where the spacecraft will remain for about a week to test systems in a deep space environment about 40,000 miles above the lunar surface before beginning the journey back to Earth .
Following a successful launch on NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, Artemis I is testing the Orion spacecraft on a rigorous mission in the extreme environment of deep space around the Moon before flying astronauts on Artemis II in 2024.
Artemis includes a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration at the Moon where the agency will prepare for future missions with crew to Mars.
“We just saw the earth set behind the moon as we take the next human rated vehicle around the moon,” said one NASA official as the Orion spacecraft experienced what might have been one of the most memorable moments of the mission so far.
In a previous update, the space agency did lay out details of how the mission is going.
Mike Sarafin, said, “We’ve largely completed the outbound leg towards the moon we’re going to have a period of time circling about the moon in distant retrograde orbit and then we’re going to have the return leg.”
Mike Sarafin is the Artemis I mission manager, who says the mission will be completed in a little about two weeks.
Sarafin explains that the mission is currently circulating the moon where NASA is set to conduct tests, take pictures and take in key data.
It is expected Monday’s update will talk about the process of going to the end stage of the mission which will bring Artemis back to Earth.
“And that sets up the distant retrograde departure on December 1, followed by the return fly-by on December the 5,” said Sarafin.
If this mission is successful, it will be the next step on taking astronauts back to the moon and then eventually to Mars.
During its circle of the moon, NASA did share deep space pictures showing the moon and earth in angles not seen in nearly 50 years.
According to officials, the mission has also allowed further testing on a deep space network.
Judd Frieling who is NASA’s Artemis I flight director, said, “We’re kind of probing and see how far we can press those bandwidth limitations and it turns out prior to that we were able to live stream.”
Officials with the space agency say so far the mission has gone and is going well.
Howard Hu, who is the Orion Program Manager, said, “Good performance across the board on all our subsystems and systems and certainly really happy with the performance.”
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