Orion, the lunar probe, is now ‘home’…Get out of the DRO and start returning to Earth
The lunar probe Orion, a mission of the U.S. lunar exploration program “Artemis 1,” began its journey home 16 days after its launch. Orion is heading to Earth after a long-range retrograde Orbit flight around the moon.
According to NASA on the 1st (local time), Orion injected the main engine at 3:53 p.m. and escaped from the DRO for 1:45 p.m. Orion will now return to Earth after flying close to the moon.
The combustion for this DRO departure is one of two maneuvers that Orion needs to return to Earth. In the second maneuver, which will take place on the 5th, it will fly about 127.4km (79.2 miles) above the surface of the moon and gain momentum to go to Earth using the moon’s gravity.
The DRO is an orbit that flies in the opposite direction to the direction in which the moon orbits the Earth, as the expression “reverse.” Climbing the DRO can minimize fuel consumption by balancing the gravity affecting Orion between the moon and the earth.
Orion used the characteristics of the DRO to break the longest flight record set by Apollo 13 52 years ago. On the 13th day of the mission, he reached a point about 432,210km (268,563 miles) from Earth on the 28th of last month.
Orion is flying at 3,701 kilometers per hour (2300 miles) from the Earth (237,600 miles) and 85,134 (52,900 miles) from the moon as of 4:30 p.m. local time on the 1st.
Orion’s return to Earth is scheduled for the 11th. After entering Earth’s orbit with its own engine propulsion, it will return to Earth on the 11th of next month by getting into the sea off the coast of San Diego, with a total flight time of 11 hours and 36 minutes on the 25th.
If safety is confirmed after successfully completing the Artemis 1 mission, NASA plans to launch a manned flight with four astronauts in 2024. Furthermore, in 2025, four astronauts will attempt to land on the moon. By 2025, the goal is to use Orion’s multi-purpose manned spacecraft and SLS (space launch system) rocket to stay for six and a half days after landing in the lunar South Pole. After the Artemis plan, NASA plans to establish a residential base on the moon for deep space exploration.