NASA has published a series of spectacular images transmitted to Earth by the Orion spacecraft. They were taken during its farewell flyby of the Moon.
Orion flew around the Moon on December 5, 2022. After passing the minimum approach point, the spacecraft activated its main engine and successfully performed a course correction that sent it to Earth.
The published images show the lunar surface dotted with countless impact craters and Orion itself. In one of the photos, you can also see our Earth in the form of a thin sickle.
Orion’s return to our planet should take place on December 11. A few hours before entering the atmosphere, the capsule of the spacecraft crew will separate from the service compartment. The last one is not equipped with thermal protection and will burn. As for the crew capsule, it will enter the atmosphere at a speed of 11 km/s. This is 30% more than the speed of spacecraft returning from the ISS. At the peak, Orion’s thermal protection will warm up to a temperature of 2800 °C. If all goes well, the capsule of the spacecraft will make a landing near San Diego.
Recall that during its flight Orion broke the record set by the Apollo 13 mission in 1970.
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