HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Huntsville and the rest of the nation will get to see the culmination of the Artemis I mission this weekend as the Orion Spacecraft makes its way back to Earth.
NASA said the spacecraft is scheduled to splash down in the Pacific Ocean near Guadalupe Island at 12:40 p.m. EST. NASA TV will begin coverage of the Artemis’ I return at 11 a.m. EST.
NASA said the landing location was decided after a thorough weather evaluation.
Recovery teams began making their way to the landing area on Friday as flight controllers began thruster tests.
NASA said that before it makes its way back to Earth, Orion will pass through a period of intense radion as it makes its way through the Van Allen Belts, which contain radiation trapped by Earth’s magnetosphere.
The space agency said Orion is designed to operate essential systems during radiation events. The spacecraft is also equipped with several instruments to measure the environment inside the crew capsule during the flight and reentry and that data will be used to help develop future crewed missions.
NASA said as the spacecraft nears re-entry the service module and crew module will separate. The crew module will return to Earth through the use of a series of parachutes while the service module burns up in the atmosphere.
Those wanted to watch the historic return to earth will get a chance to do so locally at Toyota Field, The Rocket City Trash Pandas and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center will host a free watch party from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday