Artemis 1 has sent home its first stunning image from what will be a 25-day mission through deep space.
The mission launched today (Nov. 16) at 1:47 a.m. EST (0647 GMT) atop a Space Launch System (SLS) mega rocket to conduct an uncrewed test flight around the moon. The new “selfie” image of the Orion spacecraft hardware and Earth’s partially illuminated disk comes from more than nine hours into the Artemis 1 flight. At the time, the capsule was more than 57,000 miles (92,000 kilometers) from Earth, about one-fifth the distance to the Moon, and was traveling at nearly 5,500 mph (8,800 km/h).
“This view of Earth, captured by a human-rated spacecraft, hasn’t been seen since 1972 during the last Apollo mission, some 50 years ago,” NASA spokeswoman Sandra Jones said during the live broadcast, sharing today. the vision of the capsule. “The views of our blue marble in the darkness of space now capture the imagination of a new generation – the Artemis generation.”
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In addition to the “selfie” image, NASA also released an image from inside the capsule, which shows “passenger” Commander Moonikin Campos testing the orange suit that astronauts will wear aboard the vehicle on the next flight.
Also visible in the internal rendering is the Callisto Experiment, a collaboration with Amazon to test Alexa technology in space. One of the Orion’s windows is visible on the right side of the view.
Two other cameras are on the spacecraft, according to a NASA statement (opens in new tab): One looks out the front window of the capsule and the other looks out the top hatch, where earlier in the day he watched the capsule ditch its launch abort system and watch the capsule’s parachute explode during landing.
The “selfie” views show the Orion capsule on the left side of the image, including the orbital maneuvering system, the large engine that powers its flight around the moon. Also visible in the image is one solar panel and part of a second; all told, the vehicle carries four solar panels arranged in a cross shape.
The image, in fact, comes from one of those panels, which NASA calls “solar array wings,” or SAWs.
“Each of Orion’s four solar panel wings has a commercially available camera at the tip that is highly modified for use in space and provides a view of the exterior of the spacecraft,” said David Melendrez, chief of image integration for the Orion program. . at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, the statement said.
The Artemis 1 mission has achieved all key launch day milestones. It will head for the moon in the next five days. The capsule will make its closest approach to our satellite on Monday (Nov. 21), then remain in lunar orbit for several days before changing course. The 25-day mission ends on December 11.