NASA has begun unboxing the Orion spacecraft after its epic mission to the moon.
Technicians at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida have opened Orionfrom the hatch and began to remove the payloads that were flying to Moon and back on board the capsule in the artemis 1 mission. This work will take quite some time.
“This week, technicians will remove nine avionics boxes from the Orion, which will later be refitted for mugwort 2the first mission with astronauts,” NASA officials wrote in an update (opens in a new tab) on Tuesday (January 10).
“In the coming months, technicians will remove any remaining hazardous products on board. Upon completion, the spacecraft will travel to NASA’s Glenn Neil A. Armstrong Test Facility. [in Ohio] for acoustic vibration at the abort level and other environmental tests,” they added.
related: The 10 Best Images From NASA’s Artemis 1 Lunar Mission
artemis 1 released on nov. sixteen from KSC atop a Space Launch System rocket, sending the uncrewed Orion on a jolting cruise to lunar orbit. The mission, NASA’s first artemis program of exploration of the moon, concluded when Orion splashed down off the coast of Baja California on December 1. eleven.
The capsule then traveled by truck across the country, arriving back at KSC the dec. 30. Since then, workers have been inspecting Orion and its various systems, evaluating how they performed during the nearly 26-day Artemis 1 mission.
The capsule’s 16.5-foot-wide (5-meter) heat shield, the largest of its kind ever flown, is receiving special attention, given the extreme conditions it experienced. During Orion’s reentry through Earth’s atmosphere on December 2. On February 11, the heat shield endured temperatures of up to 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit (2,800 degrees Celsius), about half as hot as the surface of Sun.
These ongoing inspections will inform preparations for the Artemis 2 mission, which is scheduled to launch astronauts around the moon in 2024.
If all goes well with that flight, NASA can start preparing for mugwort 3, which will take crew members near the moon’s south pole, where the agency plans to build a research outpost by the end of the decade. Artemis 3 aims to take off in 2025 or 2026.
Mike Wall is the author of “out there (opens in a new tab)(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; Illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @migueldwall (opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @spacedot.com (opens in a new tab) either Facebook (opens in a new tab).
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