NASA is overjoyed by the amazing lunar views from the Artemis 1 Orion mission.

 



After seeing how well their Orion spacecraft has been doing thus far as it travels towards lunar orbit, NASA officials claim that the Artemis 1 mission teams are "giddy."


On November 16, at 1:47 a.m. EST (0647 GMT), Artemis 1 lifted off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center in a stunning demonstration of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket's incredible power. After briefly entering Earth orbit, the Orion spacecraft executed a maneuver known as a "Trans Lunar Injection Burn" about 87 minutes after launch to accelerate it towards the moon. On Monday (Nov. 21), Orion carried out another burn to get the spacecraft as close to the lunar surface as possible so that it might use the moon's gravity to pull it into a far-off retrograde lunar orbit.


After gathering information from that propulsion maneuver, NASA representatives convened a briefing Monday evening (Nov. 21) to go through Orion's powered flyby of the moon. Judd Frieling, flight director at NASA's Johnson Space Center, said Orion mission team members are "giddy" with the spacecraft's current performance following the flyby, which saw the spacecraft approach the lunar surface by just 80 miles.




Frieling continued, "Flight controllers are still in awe of Orion's outstanding performance." According to Frieling, "as far as the flight controllers themselves, they're simply surprised as well at these fantastic movies that they're able to acquire from the Orion spacecraft." Additionally, they are simply pleased that their many, many, many years of sacrifice, effort, and hard work are now paying off.


Program manager for Orion, Howard Hu, stated that the team has observed "very strong performance across the board on all our subsystems and systems and we're certainly really delighted with the performance" of the spacecraft thus far.


Hu said, "Today was a great day. "Every day we come in, but it doesn't feel like work. Really, it is absolutely wonderful. I want to learn about the spacecraft, get enthused about what we're doing, and hear the information that is flowing from it. And it's been really fantastic. Every day, I smile widely."



The launch of the Space Launch System rocket for the Artemis 1 mission on November 16 was also covered in the briefing. The SLS rocket launched successfully, according to Mike Sarafin, the Artemis 1 mission manager at NASA's headquarters. The results, according to Sarafin, were breathtaking. "The rocket behaved as expected and/or exceeded it." The "kinder, softer" fueling approach used for the third successful launch attempt, Sarafin continued, likewise provided the outcomes mission managers anticipated by avoiding some of the problems that beset earlier efforts.


Additionally, Sarafin covered the harm that Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center sustained during the launch. Although most of the damage was anticipated and comparable to prior launches, the 8.8 million pounds of thrust generated by the SLS vehicle's core stage and two solid rocket boosters practically blasted doors in. Sarafin stated that the elevator system was now not working. "We had the most potent rocket in the world, and the pressure pretty well blasted the doors off of our elevators."



The insulating caulking at the base of Orion that was harmed by Tropical Storm Nicole, according to Sarafin, was detected in part in the area surrounding the rocket. It's unknown if it was torn off during launch or if Nicole tore it off earlier. Prior to launch, concern was raised about a strip of that caulking that had been harmed by the storm, but mission managers decided it would not present a problem.


The Orion spacecraft was launched by the Artemis 1 mission to the moon on a 26-day voyage that will bring it within 80 miles of the lunar surface at its closest pass and 40,000 miles away at its furthest. The mission is intended to test the Space Launch System rocket, Orion spacecraft, and related ground control systems in advance of the Artemis 2 and 3 missions, which are presently scheduled for 2024 and 2025, respectively.


Orion will return to Earth after swinging far from the moon, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean on December 11.


After splashdown and recovery are complete on December 11, along with these gentlemen and their teams, Sarafin promised to get a good night's sleep.

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