Live coverage is underway on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app for Orion’s distant retrograde orbit insertion burn as a part of the Artemis I mission. The burn is planned for 4:52 p.m. EST. Orion will fire the orbital maneuvering system engine on its European service module to propel the spacecraft into an orbit over 40,000 miles above the surface of the Moon. The distant retrograde orbit provides a highly stable destination where little fuel is required to stay while engineers put Orion’s systems to the test in a deep space environment far from Earth.
The orbital maneuvering system engine on the European Service Module is the main engine that provides the primary propulsion for Orion’s major in-space maneuvers. The engine provides 6,000 pounds of thrust and is equipped to steer the spacecraft. Orion’s European Service Module is provided by ESA (European Space Agency) with contributions from 10 European countries and the United States, including Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Spain, and the Netherlands.
Earlier in the day on flight day 10 of the 25.5-day mission, engineers continued planned testing with the star tracker in a variety of orientations in deep space as part of one of several flight test objectives.
Orion is currently traveling over 237,000 miles from Earth and over 57,000 miles from the Moon, cruising at about 2,300 miles per hour.