CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s Orion capsule entered an orbit stretching tens of thousands of miles astir the satellite Friday, arsenic it neared the halfway people of its trial flight.
The capsule and its 3 trial dummies entered lunar orbit much than a week aft launching connected the $4 cardinal demo that’s meant to pave the mode for astronauts. It volition stay successful this wide but unchangeable orbit for astir a week, completing conscionable fractional a thigh earlier heading home.
As of Friday’s motor firing, the capsule was 238,000 miles from Earth. It’s expected to scope a maximum region of astir 270,000 miles successful a fewer days. That volition acceptable a caller region grounds for a capsule designed to transportation radical 1 day.
“It is simply a statistic, but it’s symbolic for what it represents,” Jim Geffre, an Orion manager, said successful a NASA interrogation earlier successful the week. “It’s astir challenging ourselves to spell farther, enactment longer and propulsion beyond the limits of what we’ve antecedently explored.”
NASA considers this a formal rehearsal for the adjacent satellite flyby successful 2024, with astronauts. A lunar landing by astronauts could travel arsenic soon arsenic 2025. Astronauts past visited the satellite 50 years agone during Apollo 17.
Earlier successful the week, Mission Control successful Houston mislaid interaction with the capsule for astir an hour. At the time, controllers were adjusting the connection nexus betwixt Orion and the Deep Space Network. Officials said the spacecraft remained healthy.