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Orion flies over Tranquility Base, other landing sites

HOUSTON – The Orion spacecraft continued on the Artemis I mission Tuesday, entering its seventh day.

The spacecraft fired all three thruster types with the first using the large orbital maneuvering system engine, the second using the small reaction control system thrusters, and the third using the medium-sized auxiliary engines. 

Orion passed about 80 miles above the lunar surface Later, the space craft passed about 1,400 miles above the Apollo 11 landing site at Tranquility Base; flew over the Apollo 14 site at about 6,000 miles in altitude; and then over the Apollo 12 site at an altitude of about 7,700 miles.

“The mission continues to proceed as we had planned, and the ground systems, our operations teams, and the Orion spacecraft continue to exceed expectations, and we continue to learn along the way about this new, deep-space spacecraft,” said Mike Sarafin, Artemis I mission manager. 

Orion will travel 57,287 miles beyond the moon at its farthest point from the moon Friday. It will pass the record set by Apollo 13 for the farthest distance traveled by a spacecraft designed for humans at 248,655 miles from Earth on Saturday and, on Monday, reach its maximum distance from Earth at 268,552 miles.

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