USA TODAY International Edition

NASA spacecraft reaches the far side of the moon

- Jamie Groh Florida Today | USA TODAY NETWORK

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – NASA’s Artemis I Orion spacecraft completed a powered flyby maneuver on the far side of the moon Monday, bringing it just 81 miles above the surface at 7: 57 a. m. ET, a move that hasn’t been tried by a humanrated spacecraft since NASA’s Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

The outbound powered flyby was the result of one of four positionin­g burns of Orion’s Orbital Maneuverin­g System engine planned during the 26- day Artemis I mission to the moon and back.

The mission represents a milestone since NASA’s Apollo program. The $ 4.1 billion test flight began Wednesday. During Monday’s livestream, NASA spokespers­on Sandra Jones said the outbound powered flyby was necessary to bring Orion “close enough to the lunar surface to leverage the moon’s gravitatio­nal force and swing the spacecraft around the moon toward entry into distant retrograde orbit.”

During a half- hour communicat­ion blackout, flight controller­s in Houston couldn’t confirm whether the critical engine firing went well, until the capsule emerged from behind the moon. Orion then soared above Tranquilit­y Base, where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on July 20, 1969.

The capsule’s cameras sent back a picture of the world.

“Our pale blue dot and its 8 billion human inhabitant­s now coming into view,” said Jones.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States