NASA is “giddy” over the stunning lunar views from the Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft
NASA officials say Artemis 1 mission teams are “furious” after witnessing how well their Orion spacecraft has fared on its way toward lunar orbit.
Artemis 1 It was launched at 1:47 am EST (0647 GMT) on Nov. 16, it lifted off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida in a stunning display of the awesome power of a NASA Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The Orion spacecraft reached Earth’s orbit shortly after, and then at 87 minutes after launch He performed what is called a Lunar Injection burn to send it hurtling towards the moon. On Monday (November 21), Orion He did another burn To send the spacecraft close to the lunar surface to take advantage of the moon’s gravity to drag the spacecraft around the moon to a distant retrograde lunar orbit.
After gathering data from that propulsive maneuver, NASA officials held a briefing Monday evening (November 21) to discuss Orion’s flyby of the moon. Judd Freleng, flight director at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, said members of the Orion mission team are “excited” about the current performance they’re seeing from the spacecraft after the flyby, which saw the spacecraft come within 80 miles of the lunar surface.
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Frieling added that flight observers have so far been amazed at the excellent performance they’ve seen from Orion. “In terms of the flight control themselves, they’re also completely amazed by, you know, these amazing videos that they can get from the Orion spacecraft,” Frieling said. “Besides, you know, they’re just glad that all the hard work and dedication they’ve put in for so many, many years is really paying off.”
Howard Hu, Orion program manager, said the team has seen “really good performance across the board on all of our subsystems and systems, and we’re certainly really pleased with the performance” of the spacecraft so far.
“Today was a wonderful day,” Hu added. “We come in every day and it doesn’t feel like work. I mean, it’s great. I want to hear the information that’s coming in from the spacecraft, and learn about the spacecraft and get excited about what we’re doing. And that’s just, it was just phenomenal. I have a huge smile every day.” ”
The briefing also discussed the November 16 launch of the Artemis 1 mission’s Space Launch System rocket. Mike Sarafin, Artemis 1 mission manager at NASA Headquarters, said the SLS rocket was flawless during launch. “The results were amazing,” Sarafin said. “Rocket performed and/or exceeded expectations.” Sarafin added that the “nice and gentle” refueling procedure conducted for the successful third launch attempt also produced the results mission managers expected, and overcame some of the issues that had been reported. Previous attempts have been plagued.
Sarafin also discussed damage to Launch Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center during the launch. While a lot of the damage was expected and similar to other launches, the 8.8 million pounds of thrust produced by the SLS vehicle’s core stage and two solid rocket boosters really blew the doors off. “The elevator system is not working at the moment,” Sarafin said. “We had the most powerful rocket in the world and the pressure basically blew out our elevator doors.”
Part of the RTV, the dam around Orion base that was destroyed by Tropical Storm Nicole, was found in the area around the missile, Sarafin said. It is unclear if it was stripped during the launch or previously torn by Nicole. A section of this storm-damaged dam was a concern before launch, but mission managers decided it wouldn’t be a risk.
The Artemis 1 mission sent Orion toward the Moon on a 26-day journey that will see the spacecraft come within 80 miles of the lunar surface at its closest pass, and 40,000 miles away at its farthest point. The mission is designed as a flight test for the Space Launch System rocket, Orion spacecraft, and associated ground control systems ahead of the currently planned Artemis 2 and 3 missions in 2024 and 2025, respectively.
After swinging away from the Moon, Orion will return to Earth where it will touch down in the Pacific Ocean on December 11th.
“I will be well rested on December 11th after the recovery process and effusion are over, as well as these gentlemen and their teams,” Sarafin said.
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