Orion spacecraft completes close flyby of moon. Here’s what’s next

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — NASA’s Orion spacecraft completed its closest flyby of the moon earlier Monday, coming within just 81 miles of the lunar surface.


Now, Orion is preparing to enter an elliptical orbit around the moon where its systems will be put to the test.

READ: NASA’s Artemis I rocket begins journey to moon after launching from Florida’s Space Coast

Later this week, teams plan to place Orion into a distant retrograde orbit that will take it 40,000 miles past the moon before its return to Earth, allowing teams to test out the spacecraft’s system.

The Artemis 1 mission is expected to conclude on Dec. 11, when Orion splashes down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego, but not before a major test of the spacecraft’s heat shield during re-entry.

READ: ‘We are going’: Artemis I successfully blasts off from Cape Canaveral

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.