NASA´s Orion capsule flies over Apollo landing sites

Photo by History in HD/

The capsule is now on its way home after orbiting the moon one last time on Monday 

 NASA´s test dummies travelling in a space capsule called Orion, flew past a few Apollo landing sites during its trip to the moon. According to a report by the Associated Press on Monday, November 5, the “capsule passed within 80 miles (130 kilometers) of the far side of the moon, using the lunar gravity as a slingshot for the 237,000-mile (380,000-kilometer) ride back to Earth”.  

After spending a week in the ´wide sweeping lunar orbit´, Orion regained communication with flight control in Houston as it reemerged from behind the moon. The report states, the capsule then beamed back close up photos of the moon and an Earth rise.  

Orion blasted off into space on November 16 with NASA´s most powerful rocket ever. It then spent three weeks orbiting the Moon. While in orbit, Orion also passed over the landing sites of Apollo 12 and 14. But, the report stated, capsule was too high to be able to see any remains on the surface of the moon from previous missions, over half a century ago.  

The capsule is now on its way back home after the three-week test flight, according to Sandra Jones, Mission Control commentator. Officials at NASA have also stated that this mission has exceeded all expectations so far. But now they say, is when the capsule will face its biggest challenge, as it hits the Earth´s atmosphere at over 30 times the speed of sound, the report said.  

The next flight scheduled for 2024 will carry four astronauts around the moon, following another mission in 2025, aimed to land on the moon. This will be the first lunar landing since the end of the Apollo moon program.

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