February 27, 2024

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“Exceeding Expectations” – The Orion spacecraft performs its first inspection

"Exceeding Expectations" - The Orion spacecraft performs its first inspection

On the third day of the Artemis I mission, Orion maneuvered its solar arrays and captured the moon with a camera mounted on the end of the array. The spacecraft is now halfway to the Moon. attributed to him:[{” attribute=””>NASA

On the third day of its Artemis I journey, NASA’s uncrewed Orion spacecraft is now more than halfway to the Moon.

“Today, we met to review the Orion spacecraft performance, and it is exceeding performance expectations,” said Mike Sarafin, Artemis I mission manager.

Flight controllers used Orion’s cameras on Friday to inspect the crew module thermal protection system and European Service Module. This was the first of two planned external evaluations for the spacecraft. Teams conducted this survey early in the mission to provide detailed images of the spacecraft’s external surfaces after it has flown through the portion of Earth’s orbit where the majority of space debris resides.

The second inspection is required during the return phase to assess the overall condition of the spacecraft several days before re-entry. During both inspections, the Integrated Communications Officer, or INCO, commands cameras on the four solar array wings to take still images of the entire spacecraft, allowing experts to pinpoint any micrometeoroid or orbital debris strikes. The team in mission control at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will review the imagery following the survey.

Artemis All Access is your look at the latest on Artemis I, the people and technology behind the mission, and what’s coming next. This uncrewed flight test around the Moon will pave the way for a manned flight test and future human exploration of the Moon as part of Artemis. Credit: NASA

Over the past few days, a team has been evaluating anomalous star-tracking data that has been associated with rocket launches. Startrackers are sensitive cameras that take pictures of the star field around Orion. By comparing the images to the built-in star map, the star tracker can determine which way Orion is pointed. Teams now understand the readings and there are no operational changes.

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NASA has also received updates from teams associated with 10 CubeSats that have been delivered into space on a loop attached to the upper stage of the Space Launch System rocket. All 10 CubeSats have been successfully deployed via a timer from the switch. The CubeSats’ individual missions are separate from the Artemis I. minisatellites, each about the size of a shoebox, by their very nature high-risk, high-reward and teams are at different stages of mission operations or in some cases troubleshooting.

NASA hosted a briefing (see embedded video below) on Friday to showcase Orion’s arrival in the lunar sphere of influence. You can follow the task in real time Orion tracking During its mission around the moon and back, check out NASA TV schedule For updates on upcoming televised events. Episode 1 of Artemis All Access is available now (see embedded video above) as a recap of the first three days of the mission with a look at what comes next.

From NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, NASA demonstrated the entry of the Orion spacecraft into the Moon’s field of impact and a pair of maneuvers that will propel the spacecraft into a distant retrograde lunar orbit. Briefing the participants includes:

  • Mike Sarafin, Artemis I mission manager, NASA Headquarters
  • Jeff Radigan, Flight Director, NASA Johnson
  • Jim Jeffrey, Orion Vehicle Integration Manager, NASA Johnson

Orion’s entry into the lunar sphere of influence would make the Moon, rather than the Earth, the main gravitational force acting on the spacecraft. Flight controllers will conduct a running, powered-out flyby to harness the force from the moon’s gravity, accelerate the spacecraft, and steer it into a retrograde orbit far beyond the moon. During its powered flyby, Orion will make its closest approach — about 80 miles — to the surface of the Moon. Four days later, another burn using the European service module will put Orion into a distant retrograde orbit, where it will stay for about a week to test spacecraft systems.

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