NASA space capsule circles the moon
A NASA space capsule circled the moon on Monday, marking the first time the space agency has reached the lunar object with a craft designed for occupancy since 1972.
NASA’s Orion capsule left Earth in the wee hours of November 16, atop the space agency’s most powerful rocket ever for a mission, which is expected to last 25 days, 11 hours and 36 minutes.
The capsule is expected to travel 1.3 million miles before crashing off the coast of Baja, California on December 11.
NASA’S ARTEMIS 1 MISSION: MEGAROCKET AND ORION SPACECRAFT SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCH IN HISTORIC RETURN TO THE MOON
But before the capsule returns, NASA plans to orbit the moon for six days.
The Artemis program is NASA’s latest plan to revisit the moon.
The capsule, loaded with three mannequins, went to the far side of the moon, where communication with the earth was cut off for half an hour.
The blackout, according to the Associated Press, left flight controllers in Houston wondering if a critical engine ignition had gone well. Then the capsule came from behind the moon, 232,000 miles from earth.
NASA’S ARTEMIS I LAUNCHES TO BRING US CLOSER TO ‘SUSTAINABLE HUMAN FOOTPRINT ON THE MOON’
As the Orion space capsule orbited the moon, it took a picture of Earth. In a tweet, NASA said: “Artemis I will soon surpass Apollo 13’s record distance from Earth in a spacecraft designed to carry astronauts.”
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The last time NASA sent astronauts to the Moon was on the final mission of the Apollo program in December 1972.