At 1:47 a.m. EST (6:47 UTC) on Nov. 16, 2022, NASA’s Orion spacecraft launched atop the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket from historic Launch Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on a path to the Moon, officially beginning the Artemis I mission. Over the course of 25.5 days, Orion performed two lunar flybys, coming within 80 miles (129 kilometers) of the lunar surface. At its farthest distance during the mission, Orion traveled nearly 270,000 miles (435,000 kilometers) from our home planet. NASA’s Orion spacecraft successfully completed a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean at 9:40 a.m. PST (12:40 p.m. EST) as the final major milestone of the Artemis I mission.
Artemis I was the first integrated test of NASA’s deep space exploration systems – the Orion spacecraft, SLS rocket, and the supporting ground systems – and the first in a series of increasingly complex missions at the Moon. Over the course of the flight test, flight controllers tested Orion’s capabilities in the harsh environment of deep space to prepare for flying astronauts on Artemis II. Through Artemis missions, NASA will establish a long-term lunar presence for scientific discovery and prepare for human missions to Mars.
For more information about the Artemis program, visit https://www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis-ii/
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