Artemis 1 on course for Sunday splashdown after lunar close encounter
NASA's Artemis 1 mission is on track for its December 11 splashdown after the uncrewed Orion spacecraft completed a second powered flyby of the Moon today that brought it within 79 miles (127 km) of the lunar surface at 11:42 am EST.
Shortly after Orion's close encounter with the Moon, the spacecraft's thrusters fired at 11:43 am EST for three minutes and 27 seconds, altering its velocity by about 655 mph (1,054 km/h) and setting it on a trajectory for Earth. The burn was conducted autonomously because Orion was behind the Moon at the time, cutting off communications with NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) for 31 minutes.
Today's flyby came after the spacecraft suffered a minor glitch in its power system. Though there was no interruption of power to critical systems, the incident required NASA engineers to carry out detailed systems checks and to restore power to affected propulsion and heater subsystems.
Meanwhile, NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems Program and the US Navy are conducting open-water recovery training exercises in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California using a dummy capsule in preparation for the splashdown of Artemis 1's Orion spacecraft on December 11.
According to NASA, the spacecraft is now on course and will only require minor corrections before atmospheric reentry on Sunday.
The video below is a replay of the live feed of today's flyby.