UNITED STATES: NASA is currently examining the internal cargo and heat shield of the Artemis I Orion spacecraft. The Artemis I Orion spacecraft recently returned to Earth.
On December 11, the Orion spacecraft safely splashed down in the Pacific, concluding the Artemis 1 mission, which involved a more than 25-day voyage around the moon.
A picture of a group of technicians inspecting the spacecraft was also released by NASA. The heat shield, which experienced temperatures close to 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit during reentry into Earth’s atmosphere, is being closely examined by technicians underneath the crew module in the picture.
According to a NASA press release, the heat shield will be removed from the spacecraft and transported to another facility for further examination.
In order to safeguard the spacecraft from extreme conditions during both spaceflight and the high-speed, high-heat reentry, the teams are also inspecting the thermal protection on the back shell panels that cover the spacecraft and the capsule windows.
On top of the capsule is the crew module uprighting system, a group of five airbags that position the capsule right side up after splashdown and are deflated before the transfer back to Kennedy.
Engineers are removing external avionics boxes from the facility while they are still in the transfer aisle. Before moving the capsule into a service stand that will allow access to the interior, technicians will take air samples inside the capsule.
Technicians will take away the interior avionics boxes and payloads after opening the gate. According to NASA, the avionics boxes will be used again for the Artemis II mission following thorough inspections and testing.
“Following some preliminary tests, Orion was retrieved by a US Navy ship stationed off the Baja California coast of Mexico,” according to AFP.
The gumdrop-shaped capsule had to endure a temperature of 2,800 degrees Celsius (5,000 degrees Fahrenheit) as it reentered the Earth’s atmosphere, which is nearly half that of the Sun’s surface.
This mission’s primary objective was to test Orion’s heat shield in preparation for the day when it will take astronauts with it.