Artemis I: how to follow Orion’s return to Earth, NASA capsule live

Almost a month after leaving for the Moon, Orion is back. The Artemis I mission is about to return to Earth. Here’s how to follow the last splash of the capsule into the Pacific Ocean live.

It’s time to head home for the first mission of the Artemis program. On November 16, 2022, after months of hardship, Artemis I was launched towards the Moon. The Orion capsule traveled to the star, orbited it and placed itself in orbit before returning to our planet. Last step before NASA declares its mission complete: the landing of the spacecraft in the Pacific Ocean.

The Artemis I capsule’s descent to Earth and its final splash can be followed live and online.

  • When? Sunday 11 December 2022 from 17.00 (metropolitan time from France). Landing is scheduled for 18:40.
  • Where ? On NASA’s YouTube channel.
  • What ? The return of Orion, the Artemis I capsule back around the Moon, on Earth, more precisely in the Pacific Ocean.

Orion made its last flyby of the Moon on December 5 before beginning its journey back to Earth. On this occasion, Artemis I provided an image of the lunar flyby worthy of a science fiction film. It wasn’t the first time that the NASA mission has amazed us. An unlikely Earth eclipse of the Moon had also been immortalized by Orion when the capsule was more than 430,000 km from us.

What to expect when Artemis I returns to Earth?

During the return journey to our planet, Orion’s orbit was regularly adjusted to make a successful splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. Once close to Earth, the capsule must be separated from its main propulsion system. Then it is time for Orion to descend into the Earth’s atmosphere at the impressive speed of 39,400 km per hour. To protect the cabin in the capsule from the surrounding very hot air, the shield must fully play its role (and help slow the vehicle down).

At the appropriate time, parachutes will then be deployed to accompany the end of the descent of Artemis I. The capsule is expected to reach the Pacific Ocean within the line of sight of a US Navy submarine to be retrieved. We can then consider the Artemis I mission completed, and above all, a success.

Orion lead into the atmosphere, artist’s impression. // Source: YouTube Nasa screenshot

Although there are no astronauts on board Artemis I, this return will be as scrutinized as the other phases of the mission by NASA. This flight serves as a test, and the return of humans to the Moon depends on it. From the Artemis II mission, the space agency intends to send a crew of 4 astronauts in Orion to orbit the Moon. Not only must they be sent up there, but above all, the astronauts must return safely to Earth.

While waiting for the start of the live broadcast, it is still possible to follow Orion’s odyssey from the capsule. More than 50 years after the departure of the Apollo 17 mission, the last manned mission to the Moon, Artemis I is preparing for the return of humans to Earth’s natural satellite.

Leave a Comment