NASA’s Orion spacecraft has it One of the main maneuvers on its maiden voyage: It came within 81 miles of the lunar surface. This was important for several reasons, not least because it was a critical test for the drivetrain.
It executed four course-correcting burns on its way to the moon, but this time, the orbital maneuvering system engine fired for 2 minutes, 30 seconds. This mighty accelerated at a rate of more than 580MPH. At the time the burn began, the uncrewed spacecraft was traveling at 5,023 mph, 238 miles above the moon. Shortly after burning, it was 81 miles above the lunar surface and was traveling at 5,102 miles per hour.
Burn flight was one of the two maneuvers necessary for Orion to enter its retrograde orbit around the Moon. Next is the distant retrograde orbit entry burn, which is scheduled to happen Friday at 4:52 p.m. ET. Orion will remain in this orbit for about a week to test various systems, including guidance, navigation, communication, power, and thermal control. Notably, the distant retrograde orbit will take Orion within 40,000 miles of the Moon. The spacecraft is scheduled to return to Earth on December 11th.
He will reveal more details about the flyby burn and provide updates on post-launch evaluations of the Space Launch System rocket and ground-based exploration systems (including the launch tower) at a press conference Monday at 5 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, engineers were looking into RAM faults in the startracker, which were resolved through power cycles. Another team investigated an issue that caused one of the eight service mobile modules that supply solar array power to the crew module to open on a few occasions without command. There were no significant effects as a result of these hiccups.
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