(WHNT) – The Orion Spacecraft splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego at about 11:40 a.m. following its flyby of the moon.
NASA’s recovery team reported that Orion was in great shape upon splashdown after a textbook re-entry and Navy helicopters are seeing no damage. All five of the spacecraft’s uprighting modules inflated properly and it is floating stably.
NASA says there will now be multiple tests conducted on the capsule to gather data for future missions.
Orion re-entered the upper part of Earth’s atmosphere at 11:20 a.m.
The Orion capsule launched on November 16 atop a Marshall Space Flight Center-managed SLS rocket as a part of the Artemis I uncrewed moon-orbiting mission. By the time it returns, the spacecraft will have traveled a total of 1.4 million miles to the moon and back in 25 and a half days.
The primary goal of Artemis I was to test the spacecraft and it’s hardware, and assure safe module entry, descent, splashdown, and recovery. Artemis I provides a foundation for future human space exploration missions.
The spacecraft’s most important objective is proving it can re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and splashdown safely.
The Rocket City has its own strong ties to this mission, as the SLS rocket which was used to launch the Orion Spacecraft was developed, tested, and managed by the Marshall Space Flight Center. The SLS rocket is said to be NASA’s most powerful rocket.
The next Artemis flight could happen as early as 2024 and will attempt to carry four astronauts around the moon.