NASA's Orion spacecraft, which is currently flying to the Moon as part of the Artemis 1 mission, has taken the first video of the Moon. According to the plan, the spacecraft will go into the orbit of the Moon today.
In the video, captured by a camera mounted on the exterior of the spacecraft's hull, the dimly lit Moon can be seen in the distance, with part of Orion's hull visible in the foreground. The video was taken on the third day of the mission, November 19, when the spacecraft was already halfway to the Moon.
The Orion spacecraft was launched on November 16 by the SLS superheavy rocket. As part of the Artemis 1 mission, Orion will make a 25-day flight to the Moon, complete two orbits, and return to Earth on December 11. Today, the spacecraft will come as close as possible to the Moon—at a distance of about 100 km from the surface of the satellite—and fly around it.
There are no astronauts on board Orion, as the next manned mission to the Moon is scheduled for 2025. But there are some unexpected and interesting things on board the spacecraft, including three mannequins equipped with 5,600 sensors to measure radiation levels. It will help experts find out how dangerous such flights are for astronauts. One of the mannequins is wearing an AstroRad jacket to protect against radiation.
So far, Orion's flight is going without major disruptions, and the spacecraft's systems, as NASA experts assure, are exceeding expectations in terms of performance.
During the fourth day of the flight, the team tried to move all the solar panels around to find out how their different configurations affect Wi-Fi signal strength, as well as to find the best position to transfer files quickly. At the moment, it was possible to find out that connecting several cameras at the same time affects the speed of data transfer over Wi-Fi. So, in the future, scientists plan to organize file transfer more efficiently by sending data from one side of the device each time.