NASA began unveiling the Orion spacecraft after its epic mission to the moon.
Technicians at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida opened the Orion hatch and began removing the payloads that flew to the moon and returned to the capsule on the Artemis 1 mission. This work will take a lot of time.
“This week, technicians will extract nine avionics boxes from Orion, which will later be refitted for Artemis II, the first mission with astronauts,” NASA officials wrote in the update. (Opens in a new tab) on Tuesday (Jan. 10).
“In the coming months, technicians will remove hazardous cargo that remains on board. When complete, space will travel to NASA’s Glenn’s Neil A. Armstrong Test Facility [in Ohio] They added acoustic vibration and other environmental tests to abortive steps.
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Artemis 1 on Nov. 16 from the KSC survives the launch of the Orion space launch system, sending the Orion spacecraft unmanned into lunar orbit. The first mission of NASA’s Artemis program involved the exploration of the moon, when Orion landed off the coast of Baja California on Dec. 11.
The capsule then made its way across the country, arriving at KSC on December 30. Since then, the crew has been exploring Orion and its various systems, assessing how they performed during the 26-day mission near Artemis 1.
The 16.5-foot heat shield capsule (5 meters) — the largest of its kind ever flown — receives particular attention, given the extreme conditions it has experienced. In the reentry of Orion through the Earth’s atmosphere on Dec. 11 The heat shield endured temperatures of up to 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit (2,800 degrees Celsius), nearly as hot as the surface of the sun.
These ongoing inspections will inform the preparation for the Artemis II mission, which is supposed to send astronauts around the moon in 2024.
If successful with that flight, NASA will launch Artemis 3, which will land crews near the moon’s south pole, where the agency plans to build a research station by the end of the decade. Artemis 3 is targeted to lift off in 2025 or 2026.
Mike Wall is the author of “There you go (Opens in a new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018, illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (Opens in a new tab) or * Facebook (Opens in a new tab).
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