UNITED STATES: The Orion spacecraft was delivered by the Artemis-1 rocket as NASA wheeled it on a path to the moon hours after its launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, which brightened the night sky.
As Orion decoupled from the interim cryogenic propulsion stage, engineers successfully finished trans-lunar injection.
As the spacecraft travelled toward the Moon during the 18-minute burn, the Orion activated its auxiliary thrusters to move safely away from the expended stage.
NASA’s Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development, Jim Free, declared, “Trans-lunar injection burn complete!” Orion is on its journey to the Moon! “Thanks to ICPS, SLS’s upper stage, for pushing us on our way.”
Prior to the trans-lunar injection, the intermediate cryogenic propulsion stage burned for 20 seconds to raise the lowest point of Orion’s Earth orbit.
The perigee-raising manoeuvre was successfully accomplished, showcasing the mission’s engineering expertise as it started its arduous trip toward the Moon.
After years of delays and billions in cost overruns, the Space Launch System rocket soared aloft, rising from Kennedy Space Center on 4 million kg of thrust and reaching 160 kph in a couple of seconds.
The Orion capsule, which was perched atop it, separated from the Earth’s orbit less than two hours into the flight and began to move in the direction of the moon.
Over three months before the moonshot, the rocket was forced to repeatedly move between its hangar and the launch pad due to persistent fuel leaks.
The rocket held its footing outside as Nicole swept past last week after Hurricane Ian drove it back inside at the end of September.
The next mission, slated for 2024, will send four men around the moon, with the potential for a landing in 2025.