4 months ago

NASA's Orion spacecraft enters distant retrograde orbit around the Moon

NASA’s Orion spacecraft fired an engine on Friday (November 25) to insert itself into a distant retrograde orbit over 40,000 miles (64,373 kilometres) above the surface of the Moon.

According to NASA’s report, prior to this stage, the spacecraft was traveling more than 57,000 miles above the lunar surface, the farthest it will reach from the Moon during the mission.

Orion's major in-space stages are propelled by the orbital maneuvering system engine on the European Service Module, which provides 6,000 pounds of thrust.

On Saturday (November 26) Orion is expected to break the record for the farthest distance traveled by a spacecraft intended to carry humans to space and safely return them to Earth.

NASA says the record is held by the Apollo 13 spacecraft at 248,655 miles (400,171 km) from Earth.

Orion still has to complete half an orbit around the Moon in about a week’s time and then use the Moon’s gravitational force to set course for Earth during another burn that will end on a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on December 11.

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