NASA is about to end the Artemis 1 mission


On Sunday, the capsule of the Orion module should dive towards Earth for the final kilometers of fall. After being more than 400,000 kilometers from Earth, surpassing a 50-year-old record, Orion is about to return home. Mike Sarafin, in charge of the flight for NASA is rather confident about the continuation of this mission. For now “everything is going well” he even assured yesterday during a press conference that “bonus objectives had been achieved in neckrs of road.”

Artemis 1: the beginning of a long story

Launched on November 16, at the top of a 100-meter high SLS rocket, the Orion module has made a journey rich in lessons for NASA. The space agency now hopes to be able to return to the air in the spring of 2024. This time, Orion will be manned by four astronauts. They will circumnavigate the Moon without landing there before returning to Earth.

In the year 2025, NASA is expected to bring the Artemis program to its peak. With the third mission, a woman and a person of color will go to the ground of our satellite. They will be the first to walk on the lunar regolith since Eugene Cernan, a member of the Apollo 17 mission and to date the last man to have walked on the Moon.

But before getting there, the final phase of the Artemis 1 mission must go well. Over the weekend, the return capsule of the Orion module will enter the atmosphere. Launched at almost 40,000 km/h, the friction of the air will heat up its heat shield.

A risky return to Earth

At the height of the descent, the latter will exceed 4000°C. At such a temperature interference is created. This is the “blackout”. For a few minutes it was impossible to access data in flight. The capsule is delivered to itself at several tens of thousands of kilometers per hour.

When encountering thicker layers of air, the temperature of the heat shield will drop. The link will be restored and the parachutes will open shortly after. They will once again brake the capsule. It will come to rest during a splashdown, a violent landing. Contact with water, at 35km/h should occur not far from the Californian coast.

At this precise location, special boats will be tasked with recovering the capsule. It will then be transported to NASA headquarters in Houston for study. This part of the mission worries NASA because the slightest mistake can destroy the mission.

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