NASA restores contact after Orion mysteriously goes dark for 47 minutes
After a successful lift-off from the Kennedy Space Center last Wednesday and a close fly-by of the Moon earlier this week, it had been pretty smooth sailing for NASA’s Artemis I mission so far. Mission control has now experienced a small hiccup, however, losing contact with the Orion capsule for a 47-minute period, though the spacecraft is said to be continuing on in a healthy state.
The breakdown was unexpected, and occurred just after midnight on Wednesday morning as NASA was reconfiguring the communications link between the Orion spacecraft and the Deep Space Network. This type of reconfiguration had been executed several times in the preceding days without incident, but this time around something went awry.
Communications were lost in both directions for 47 minutes, before NASA was able to restore contact with Orion through further reconfigurations on the ground. Though it was able to confirm the healthy status of the spacecraft, the space agency is still exploring the reasons for the lost contact, with engineers currently going over the data in search of answers.
Artemis I is an uncrewed mission designed to test out NASA’s next-gen systems for deep space travel, so although the glitch wasn’t ideal, it does demonstrate the importance of these practice runs with nobody onboard. Engineers are also downloading data recorded onboard as the spacecraft went dark in their hunt for clues.
This is why we test. Overnight, we unexpectedly lost communication with @NASA_Orion while reconfiguring the link between the spacecraft and the Deep Space Network. We've since restored the link with an adjustment on the ground and are examining root cause. https://t.co/F4hzPfZ4Ra pic.twitter.com/JexapC2i0E— Jim Free (@JimFree) November 23, 2022
All going to plan, Orion is due to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on December 11.