Artemis I: NASA’s Orion spacecraft successfully completed a lunar flyby burn on November 21, at 7:44 am EST (6:14 pm IST), following which it reacquired signal with NASA’s Deep Space Network. Flight controllers fired the orbital manoeuvring system engine for two minutes and 30 seconds to accelerate Orion at a rate of more than 933.42 kilometres per hour. The spacecraft reacquired signal with Earth at 7:59 am EST (6:29 pm IST).
According to NASA, Orion was about 528 kilometres above the Moon at the time of the burn, and was travelling at a speed of about 8,084 kilometres per hour. Orion passed about 130 kilometres above the Moon, shortly after the burn. At that time, the spacecraft was travelling at a speed of about 8,210 kilometres per hour.
The outbound powered flyby burn is the first of the two manoeuvres required to enter the distant retrograde orbit (DRO) around the Moon. The DRO provides a highly stable orbit where little fuel is required to stay for an extended trip in deep space to put Orion’s systems to the test in an environment far from Earth.
Orion was more than 3,70,149 kilometres away from Earth at the time of the lunar flyby.
Orion will perform the distant retrograde orbit insertion burn on November 25, using the European Service Module. According to NASA, the Orion spacecraft will stay in this orbit for about a week to test spacecraft systems.
The distant retrograde will take the spacecraft 64,373 kilometres past the Moon before it returns to Earth.
On November 29, at 2:35 am IST, Orion will reach its greatest distance from Earth, at more than 4,32,108 kilometres. Orion will reach its greatest distance from the Moon on November 26, at 3:23 am IST, at more than 92,134 kilometres.