NASA published stunning images of the Orion spacecraft entering Earth’s atmosphere at 32 times the speed of sound. The aim of this initiative was to celebrate the first anniversary of the spacecraft’s successful return to Earth.
For those in a hurry:
- Pictures of Orion’s return: NASA released images of the Orion spacecraft entering Earth’s atmosphere — at 32 times the speed of sound — to mark one year since the spacecraft’s successful return to Earth;
- Orion mission: Launched in November 2022, Orion, a spacecraft designed to transport humans to distant destinations, including the Moon, completed a 25-day journey, setting a record distance for a manned spacecraft;
- Innovative re-entry technology: Orion used a reentry technique similar to a rock bouncing on water, allowing for a more precise and stable landing.
- The meaning and future of the message: The Orion mission is considered crucial for future lunar exploration and preparations for missions to Mars, and the next mission, Artemis 2, is scheduled to take a crew to the moon.
Footage of the reentry was posted by NASA on X (formerly Twitter). But there is a (much) longer version of this video available on YouTube. You can choose which one to watch below:
NASA’s Orion mission
Orion, a spacecraft designed to take humans to destinations beyond those already reached, was launched for the first time on November 16, 2022, using NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), marking the debut of the powerful rocket.
During its mission, Orion made a journey that lasted 25 days, including six days around the moon, and set a new record, reaching a distance of 434,500 kilometers from Earth, which is the longest distance ever traveled by a spacecraft dedicated to humans.
Orion innovated by re-entering Earth’s atmosphere using a “jumping” technique, similar to a stone jumping on water. This method allows for a more consistent and accurate landing, regardless of the initial location of entry into the atmosphere.
Chris Madsen, Orion Guidance, Navigation and Control Subsystem Manager, to explain This early entry technology allows Orion to land close to the US coast, facilitating rapid crew recovery on future missions and reducing the need for extensive resources in the Pacific to assist.
Importance and next steps
Jim Frey, NASA’s associate administrator for exploration and mission systems development Highlight The importance of the Orion mission.
For him, Orion is an initial milestone for future missions to the Moon and a sustainable human presence on the satellite, as well as preparations for future missions to Mars.
With Orion’s successful return, NASA begins planning for the next mission, Artemis 2, which will take a crew to the Moon, marking a new chapter in space exploration, the search for scientific discoveries, and preparations for missions to Mars.
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