spaceSpace and PhysicsspaceAstronomy

Orion Goes Above And Beyond As It Flies Closest To The Moon

The Artemis I mission is exceeding expectations and it has barely begun.


Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockNov 21 2022, 14:56 UTC
Part of the Orion spacecraft is visible in the left side of the image. The Moon looms largely on the right side. The Earth is visible in the distance in the middle of the photograph.
NASA's Orion as it approaches the Moon with the Earth in the distance. Image Credit: NASA via NASA TV

NASA is literally over the Moon when it comes to Artemis. Officials have declared that the Orion spacecraft is exceeding expectations and has just gone beyond the Moon and completed its closest flyby – just 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the Lunar surface.

The Artemis I mission has no crew on board and is designed to test every single piece of equipment of the Orion spacecraft to make sure that, from the next mission, astronauts can be on board in complete safety. On the night of November 20, just short of five days into the mission, the spacecraft conducted a fourth burn that brought it into a retrograde orbit around the Moon.


The expected moment of loss contact was around 7:26 am ET, when Orion flew behind the Moon. There it conducted another maneuver firing its engine at 7:44 am. NASA reestablished contact at 7:59 am ET, just a few minutes after Orion flew the closest to the lunar surface. 

At the time of writing, Orion has traveled for over 375,000 kilometers (233,000 miles).

spaceSpace and PhysicsspaceAstronomy
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  • Orion,

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