The Apollo 13 mission is surpassed by NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which set a new record for the distance traveled in space by a spacecraft intended to carry humans.
On Monday, the unmanned spacecraft smashed the record by traveling more than 430,000 kilometers beyond Earth.
Orion Spacecraft Travels 268,563 Miles
Astronauts will board the next trip, which isn’t expected for another two years, as soon as it finishes its mission without incident.
The Orion spacecraft will be used for a series of progressively difficult missions that the space agency is preparing. These are a component of NASA’s Artemis program, which seeks to send people back to the moon’s surface after more than 50 years.
As of Monday, the space agency’s Artemis mission had reached its halfway point thanks to the accomplishment accomplished by Orion. The halfway point, according to officials, gives experts a chance to assess their margins, and determine where they can make improvements to lower danger to astronauts while also better knowing how the spacecraft will operate during the next launch for crewed flight.
Additionally, the Orion spacecraft has been returning breathtaking video footage of its ascent through space. It was able to take stunning pictures of the moon passing in front of our planet before it traveled a record-breaking distance. Last week, the ESA module also performed two crucial engine burns that put Orion in a far-off retrograde orbit.
On Nov. 16, the spacecraft was launched from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. It is currently on a 26-day mission to test the craft’s systems and determine whether it is secure enough to transport live astronauts.
David Melendrez, the head of imagery integration for the Orion Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, claimed that each of Orion’s four solar array wings was outfitted with a readily available, commercial camera. These are located at the tip and have been extensively modified for usage in space. They give users a view of the outside of the spacecraft.
Spacecraft Expected to Return to Earth in December
The arrays may alter their location in relation to the rest of the capsule, according to the official, which will maximize the amount of sunlight that is captured and converted into electricity to run Orion.
Additionally, it enables mission control center flight controllers to check and take pictures of Orion’s space environment by pointing the cameras toward various portions of the spacecraft.
The Orion spacecraft is still on its journey and is scheduled to land on Earth on December 11. Engineers have already completed their evaluations and determined that the capsule is safe to re-enter the atmosphere. However, the capsule will need two more maneuvers in the days that follow to place itself on the right course to return to Earth.
The most recent Orion camera feed displayed the greatest definition of live view ever from beyond the moon. While several science satellites have taken pictures of Earth from a greater distance, unlike Orion, they were not aired live.
The following two missions, Artemis II and Artemis III are slated to launch in 2024 and 2025 or 2026, respectively, following the capsule’s return to Earth.