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Artemis I mission ends with record-breaking re-entry for Orion

By T.K. Randall
December 12, 2022 · Comment icon 17 comments

The mission has been a great success. Image Credit: NASA
NASA's flagship Artemis I mission has come to a successful close with a dramatic splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
Hailed as a major stepping stone towards a manned mission to the Moon within the next few years, Artemis I concluded yesterday when the unmanned Orion capsule splashed down off the coast of Baja California, Mexico.

Just moments before, it had experienced what was described as a "hellish re-entry" in which it careened through the atmosphere hotter and faster than any other space vehicle in history.

At one point, it was traveling at a staggering 25,000mph (32 times the speed of sound) while its protective heat shield reached temperatures of up to 2,800 degrees Celsius.

NASA has been testing the spacecraft to the limit during its trip around the Moon to ensure that it is more than capable of supporting astronauts during future manned missions.

"[Orion] still has all that energy that the launch rocket first put into it," NASA's John Kowal said during a livestream prior to the landing.
"All that energy - enough to power 4,000 to 5,000 homes in a day - we have to get rid of."

"The vehicle comes slamming into the atmosphere and starts trying to push the air out of the way. That air is pushing back, the pressures go up, the temperatures go up - we're talking upwards of around 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit in the flow field."

"The flow field wants to give that energy back, so that's what the heat shield is going to see."

The successful splashdown marks a positive end to NASA's long-awaited debut mission of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion capsule and a major step towards a manned Moon landing.

The next mission, Artemis II, will carry astronauts on a trip around the Moon and back again.

If all goes to plan, it will launch sometime around May 2024.

Source: Live Science | Comments (17)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by DanL 1 year ago
The cost is prohibitive. When it costs a few million dollars just for a short walk it's not something that is worth doing again. When/If we develop a cheaper and more functional way to go there THEN you will see people going there just for the heck of it. With a price that measures in billions, it isn't something that is a tourist sort of trip.
Comment icon #9 Posted by and-then 1 year ago
Back in July of 1999, I came down to Kennedy and toured the facility and got to watch a night launch of Columbia.  It was the Chandra X-Ray telescope mission.  I'll never forget the experience, especially the quality of the light the engines produced.  The viewing area was on the Banana River.  
Comment icon #10 Posted by Still Waters 1 year ago
The US space agency's Orion capsule is heading home. The vehicle conducted a big engine burn on Monday in the vicinity of the Moon that now commits it to a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday. It was the last major powered manoeuvre for the next-generation crew ship on what has been, so far, a highly successful demonstration flight. A trouble-free return at the weekend will see astronauts climb aboard Orion for its next mission in late 2024. Nasa is planning a series of ever more complex outings for the capsule and its launch rocket - as part of its Artemis programme. [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by Timothy 1 year ago
No, not strange. If you comprehend it. I guess you can start with your dishwasher vs Apollo comparison. Assume you’re talking about computing power?
Comment icon #12 Posted by esoteric_toad 1 year ago
I worked for United Space Alliance in the early 2000's. There is NOTHING like watching the shuttle launch from the west side of the VAB. While the visuals were amazing the sound was really the most incredible part. Nothing like it.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Still Waters 1 year ago
NASA Moon capsule Orion due to splash down after record-setting voyage After making a close pass at the Moon and venturing further into space than any previous habitable spacecraft, NASA's Orion capsule is due to splash down Sunday in the final test of a high-stakes mission called Artemis. As it hurtles into Earth's atmosphere at a speed of 25,000 miles (40,000 kilometers) per hour, the gumdrop-shaped traveler will have to withstand a temperature of 2,800 degrees Centigrade (5,000 Fahrenheit)—about half that of the surface of the sun. Splashdown in the Pacific off the Mexican island of Guada... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by DreadLordAvatar 1 year ago
What a waste of funding but obviously the main purpose is for national security, not for science as eluded.  Oh well, fed can just keep printing that cash out of thin air. A run away national debt is irrelevant.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Roshman 1 year ago
Six missions landed humans on the Moon, beginning with Apollo 11 in July 1969, during which Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the Moon. The last moon landing was Apollo 17 mission in 1972. No need for conspiracy theories.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Jon the frog 1 year ago
Nice that NASA nailed it. Have taken quite a long time and multiple iterations but at least it's done now.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Desertrat56 1 year ago
I am reading a book by Travis S. Taylor PHD and his history of NASA is interesting (peppered with a lot of resentment of other countries and politicians).   It is a good book if you want an over view, he is a smart man and in the book he explains why there were no more moon missions after Apollo 17.   Politics mainly starting with Nixon.   Any way, the book is called A New American Space Plan.   

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