Orion shows the Earth from space on the second day of the flight

Last week, the landmark launch of the Artemis I mission to the Moon took place. The mega rocket SLS launched the Orion spacecraft into orbit, which then tore away from the gravitational influence of the Earth and headed for our natural moon. On the second day of the flight, Orion took a picture of the Earth, which demonstrates how the spacecraft is gradually moving away from its home. 

The Orion navigation camera captured this black-and-white portrait of Earth on the second day of the Artemis I mission. Photo: NASA

The photo was taken on Friday in black and white. The meaning of the image for NASA is to see the entry of Orion into the sphere of influence of the Moon and check a couple of maneuvers that will take the spacecraft into the distant retrograde orbit of the moon.

Orion’s entry into the lunar sphere of influence will make the Moon instead of the Earth the main gravitational force acting on the spacecraft. Four days later, the spacecraft uses the force of the Moon’s gravity to accelerate and enter the retrograde orbit of the Moon. During this maneuver, Orion will pass just 160 km from the surface of the Moon. Four days later, another engine launch of the European service module will put the spacecraft into a distant orbit, where it will remain for about a week to test systems at a far distance from Earth. 

On the 16th day of the mission, the Orion service module will begin performing the second lowest spacecraft pass by our moon. Then the service module will burn the last remnants of fuel to send Orion to Earth. After the moon’s descent from orbit, a six-day cruise back will take place, which will end on the 26th day of the mission on December 11. 

If everything goes according to plan with Artemis I, the next mission will take place in 2024 – Artemis II, in which three astronauts will take part to fly around the Moon, and Artemis III will land the crew at the South Pole of the moon in about 2025-2026.

Earlier we reported on how the Snoopy doll experienced gravity inside Orion.

According to NASA

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