On Monday (21), after five days of travel, the American Artemis 1 mission performed a powered maneuver during a low-lunar flight. The Orion capsule’s service module must fire the main thrust at 9:44 am (Brasilia time), in an afterburner that must consume 20% of the available fuel. The maneuver will increase the spacecraft’s speed as it passes within 130 kilometers of the lunar surface. continue to live with astronomical messengerstarting at 9:30 a.m., in the video below.
Closest approach will happen at 9:57 a.m., and sordid detail: It will all happen when Orion passes behind the Moon, from Earth’s point of view. This means that there is no direct communication with Mission Control in Houston. The entire procedure will be performed automatically. Communication is expected to be restored at 9:59 am.
Small trajectory adjustments have been made along the way to the Moon, but this will be the first major powered maneuver performed using the Service Module, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) contribution to the mission.
After the launch, which was successfully carried out last Wednesday (16), NASA has been testing the capsule systems. There were some minor issues, particularly with the star trackers. It is equipment with cameras that uses the position of the stars to guide the vehicle in space.
An analysis group was created and confirmed that everything is in order with them. The abnormalities were caused by the computer being confused at times by the exhaust shafts from the auxiliary pushers; In the photos, they made it difficult to identify the stars. Nothing to worry about.
Everything is going well with the moon’s powered flyby, the next big step will be another burn, on Friday (25), to get the spacecraft into a far retrograde orbit of the moon, about 64,000 km from the surface. Over the next week, Orion is expected to break the record for the farthest human exploration spacecraft has ever traveled from Earth, crossing a distance of 450,000 km. The current record holder is Apollo 13, which covered 401,000 km.
This time, of course, the capsule is traveling uncrewed, and testing allows NASA to push it to the limits. On board the command module there are only mannequins with radiation sensors and a bright guest: a doll of the little dog Snoopy, a character associated with the exploration of the moon since the time of the Apollo missions, in the middle of the last century.
If all goes well (which will also include an electric re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere at record speed), the US space agency’s plan is to conduct the Artemis 2 mission with four crew members in 2024, the first trip by astronauts to the Moon since Apollo. 17, exactly 50 years ago (December 1972). However, the flight profile of the mission would be more conservative: the capsule would only orbit the Moon and return to Earth afterward, without being able to stabilize itself in lunar orbit. Unlike Artemis 1’s 26 days, it will only last 10 days.
Current link: Did you like this text? A subscriber can issue five free visits to any link per day. Just click the blue F button below.
“Entrepreneur. Music enthusiast. Lifelong communicator. General coffee aficionado. Internet scholar.”