NASA’s Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft will return to Earth on Sunday (Dec. 11) after nearly a month away, and you can watch its arrival live.
The Artemis 1 Orion capsule is scheduled to launch into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California on Sunday around 12:40 PM EST (1740 GMT).
You can watch live coverage of Orion’s reentry here at Space.com courtesy of NASA, or directly via Space. (Opens in a new tab). Coverage will begin at 11 am EST (1600 GMT).
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Orion aboard the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on November 16, kicking off the massive Artemis 1 mission.
The capsule entered lunar orbit on November 25, then left on December 25. 1. Four days later, Orion moved its main gun in a 3.5-minute burn — the longest of its mission — on a narrow lunar flight back to its head. house planet
The 25.5-day-long Artemis 1 mission will end on Sunday, 50 years to the day that Apollo 17 astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt touched down on the moon’s surface. The two left on December 14, 1972 and no men have returned to the moon since.
If all goes according to plan, Orion will enter Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean at about 12:20 pm EST (1720 GMT) on Sunday while traveling at 25,000 mph (40,000 kph). This tremendous speed will generate a lot of friction; Orion’s heat shield will have to handle temperatures of up to 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit (2,800 degrees Celsius) – nearly as hot as the surface of the sun.
The capsule will briefly rise above the atmosphere and then descend, like a rock skipping over the surface of a pond. After this skip, Orion will descend through the atmosphere under a parachute, splashing off the coast of Baja California at approximately 12:40 pm EST (1740 GMT). The US Navy, USS Portland, will be waiting in the vicinity to receive the ship and tow it to the port of San Diego.
The reentry will begin in the open Pacific, far from the coast of South America, and from there Orion will head north. the remoteness of the road box, combined with the lion’s — that is, the hours of the day — make this reentry a very difficult target for observers on the ground, even those closest to the site of the schism.
“Is he ever going to be able to see the Baja?” Artemis 1 Flight Director Judd Frieling said at a press conference on Thursday (Dec. 8). “It’s always a chance, but we’re far enough up the coast there that I doubt it, unless you’re in a boat, a hundred miles from shore.”
Nearby observers can receive evidence that the reentry has begun.
“You’re more likely to hear a sonic boom than something approaching the vehicle,” Artemis 1 Mission Manager Mike Sarafin said in a briefing Thursday.
Artemis 1 is the launch vehicle for SLS, Orion and their associated ground systems. If all goes well on Sunday, NASA may begin engineering Artemis 2, which will send astronauts around the moon in 2024.
Artemis 3 will place boots near the lunar south pole in 2025 or 2026. Future missions in NASA’s Diana program will build a research base in that region, which is thought to be rich in water ice.
Management wants to have this station up and running by the end of the 2020s. NASA plans to use the knowledge from these moon searches to help get astronauts to Mars by the late 2030s or early 2040s.
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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