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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

USA. The Orion capsule made its closest flyby over the lunar surface

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The Orion capsule – part of the Artemis program, which aims to return man to the moon – made a close flyby over the surface of the Silver Globe, approaching it to a distance of only 130 kilometers, NASA reported.

Orion made a close flyby on Monday. This happened as part of the capsule’s return journey to Earth, after it had drifted more than 350,000 kilometers away from it. At the time of the flight, the capsule started its rocket engines for 3.5 minutes to head on a trajectory towards the Earth. After entering Earth’s atmosphere, Orion is scheduled to splash down in the ocean on December 11.

The Man on the Moon

The last manned spacecraft sent from Earth to come this close to our natural satellite was the Apollo 17 capsule on the last mission of the Apollo program 50 years ago.

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Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt landed on the lunar surface. They were the last of the 12 astronauts NASAwho landed on the lunar surface as part of the six manned Apollo flights between 1969 and 1972.

The Orion capsule made its closest flyby over the lunar surfaceReuters

On board the Orion there were only three mannequins so far, but it still set the record for the distance from Earth of a ship adapted for manned flights. The previous one, set by the Apollo 13 crew, was about 35,000 years ago. km smaller.

The Apollo 13 mission had an exceptionally dramatic course. Due to a potentially catastrophic technical failure of the ship, the astronauts had to abandon the lunar landing and go to Earth.

Earth as seen from OrionReuters

Preparations for the return of man to the moon

The aim of the Artemis program this time is not only to land on the moon, but also to build a permanent base there, which is to be used in the future for a flight to Mars.

The first manned flight, but not yet landing, is to take place in 2024. The landing on the moon is expected a few years later, and the flight to Mars is likely in 10-15 years.

Launch of the Artemis I missionPAP/EPA/NASA/KEEGAN BARBER/HANDOUT

Main photo source: Reuters

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