NASAs Orion Capsule Returns Home Successfully

Story Highlights
  • Orion capsule complete maiden Moon voyage.
  • Spalshed successfully into the Pacific ocean.
  • The spacecraft blasted off on Nov 16.

Orion Capsule of Artemis 1 mission successfully splashed into the Pacific ocean on Sunday the US space agency confirmed concluding the 25 day journey around the Moon.

The gumdrop-shaped capsule splashed down on time at 9:40am PST (1740 GMT) off the coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula after deploying various sets of parachutes to brake its speedy return from space.

Orion, the world’s most powerful rocket and the biggest Nasa has built since the Saturn V of the Apollo era blasted off on Nov 16 from Kennedy space centre in Florida. The mission aimed at returning astronauts to the lunar surface this decade and establishing a sustainable base there as a stepping stone to future human exploration of Mars.

NASA engineers conducted the final in-space developmental flight test for the Artemis 1 mission on Saturday, December 10. During the test, they characterised the impact of high temperatures on solar array wings from plumes or exhaust gases. Flight controllers fired the spacecraft’s reaction control systems using opposite thrusters to balance torque. The space agency also conducted the fifth return trajectory correction for the mission at 2.02 AM IST on Sunday, December 11.

Ahead of reentry, Orion’s crew module separated from the service module, which burned in Earth’s atmosphere during reentry. The spacecraft’s communications switched from NASA’s Deep Space Network to its Near Space Network while the capsule returned.

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