The space race is experiencing new dawns and more ambitious goals than ever before. The Webb telescope or the plans for a nuclear power plant on the moon prove it. Now, the Orion capsule, from the Artemis lunar mission, has done its thing. It is the spacecraft that went the farthest, being built for humans.
It reached 434,000 kilometers from Earth on Monday. The farthest distance ever reached by a spacecraft built for humans. It was reported by NASA.
Surpassing Apollo 13
“Orion set another record. This time it reached more than 430,000 kilometers from Earth this Monday afternoon.” So said Bill Nelson, administrator of the U.S. space agency. The announcement was made at a press conference broadcast on social networks.
Orion had already reached another milestone two days ago. It surpassed on November 26 the farthest distance covered by another spacecraft. That was Apollo 13. That was the eventful journey that took three astronauts some 400,000 kilometers from Earth.
The capsule is almost on its 13th mission day. It is in a distant retrograde orbit and in the next few days will perform firing maneuvers to approach the Moon again. It will soon fly over the Earth’s satellite and then return to our planet.
Three dummies are traveling in the capsule. They are testing different systems for when the Artemis mission takes astronauts into deep space. When is Orion scheduled to return to Earth? December 11, over the Pacific Ocean.
The next phase planned for 2024 will be a manned mission testing systems in lunar orbit. And a year later a lunar landing will be attempted with Artemis III. This will carry the first woman and the first person of color to the lunar surface. The spacecraft that went the farthest is just one of the many milestones of the mission.
It will be the first manned lunar mission since Apollo 17 in 1972. That was the last time a human being landed on the Moon.