50 years after man last walked on the surface of the Moon, the Orion spacecraft returned to Earth after a successful spaceflight, According to the news agency AP.
The first flight of NASA’s Artemis program, a 25-day unmanned test flight in lunar orbit, ended Sunday with a successful launch into the ocean off Mexico’s west coast.
The craft spent a week on the return trip to Earth, entering the atmosphere at 40,000 kilometers per hour.
– I’m confused. It’s an extraordinary day,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said after the landing.
Humans will fly in the year 2024
Orion is the first spacecraft to orbit the Moon since Apollo 17 in 1972.
According to NASA commentator Rob Navias, the sea landing should have ended the book.
Orion remained in the Pacific Ocean for a full six hours while NASA gathered data and ran various tests before the team ferried the ship aboard the US Navy ship USS Portland.
On board were, among other things, three mannequins with vibration sensors and radiation monitors.
The mission, data and test results will ensure Orion is safe and ready to carry astronauts into space.
A successful spaceflight was essential for the Artemis program to move forward as planned.
The next Orion flight, scheduled for 2024, will carry four astronauts around the Moon. The following year, the plan was for two people to walk on the moon for the first time since 1972.
The ultimate goal is to send astronauts all the way to Mars within the 2030s.
A non-reusable missile
The launch price will be around NOK 41 billion.
The spacecraft itself was launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on November 16 of this year. Orion was loaded aboard an SLS rocket, and launched into the atmosphere.
The rocket is not reusable, and shortly thereafter crashes into the sea as planned, while Orion glides through space towards the Moon.
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