NASA has finally succeeded in launching its Artemis 1 mission to the Moon after several launch windows were cancelled back in September.
After several months of waiting and after several canceled launched windows, NASA has finally launched its Artemis I mission to the Moon. Artemis 1, NASA’s mission to reach lunar orbit using the SLS megarocket and unmanned Orion spacecraft, has taken its first image as it departs the orbit of Earth. With the SLS core stage and solid rocket boosters, the Orion spacecraft was launched into Earth orbit, but its journey to the moon required another push. The Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) of the SLS, the upper stage of the rocket, provided that boost, as explained at a press conference.
— Orion Spacecraft (@NASA_Orion) November 16, 2022
It took the ICPS single engine 18 minutes to boost Orion’s speed from 28,160 to 36,210 kilometers per hour, as planned and put the capsule on course for the Moon 87 minutes after liftoff. “Translunar Injection Fire Full! Orion is on its way to the moon! Thanks to ICPS, SLS Upper Stage, for the push to get us on our way,” Jim Free, Associate Administrator for the Directorate of Exploration Systems Development Mission at NASA headquarters in Washington, he said via Twitter, just after this maneuver ended. The flight reached another milestone around 115 minutes after Orion separated from ICPS. Now, the capsule and its European-built service module will begin their own journey into lunar orbit, while ICPS will deploy a dozen microsatellites called CubeSats. Next week, Orion will fly close to the lunar surface, passing within about 60 miles (96 kilometers) of the moon’s surface.
— NASA Artemis (@NASAArtemis) November 16, 2022
Upon reaching its destination, Orion will spend about ten days in lunar orbit before returning to Earth. The Orion spacecraft will enter our atmosphere at around 40,000 kilometers per hour on December 11 and then parachute into the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. The successful launch of the Artemis 1 mission makes a huge leap for NASA. During its mission, Orion will travel roughly 1.3 million miles (2 million kilometers). As NASA points out, its path will take it farther than any other spacecraft designed for human flight has gone.