NASA has taken to its social channels and website to provide an update on its Orion spacecraft, which is currently preparing for its last maneuver before heading back home to Earth.
The space agency has explained in its Artemis 1 Flight Day 19 update via its website that on December 4 the Orion spacecraft performed a trajectory correction burn that put the spacecraft on-route to make its closest approach to the Moon before it began its long journey back to Earth. According to NASA, the Orion spacecraft will come within just 79.2 miles of the surface of the Moon, with the space agency posting a video to its Artemis Twitter account showing Orion on its way to making its closest approach yet.
NASA continues to explain that on the same day, Orion will perform a powered fly burn at 10:43 am CST, which will last 3 minutes and 27 seconds. This burn will change the velocity of the spacecraft by approximately 655 mph (961 feet per second) and will be the maneuver of the mission before Orion heads back to Earth. NASA writes that on its way back, Orion will make slight trajectory adjustments, but nothing major.
"The spacecraft obtained additional data using its optical navigation system, which is a sensitive camera to take images of the Moon and Earth to help orient the spacecraft by looking at the size and position of the celestial bodies in the images," writes NASA.
"Just after 4:30 pm CST on Dec. 4, Orion was traveling 222,213 miles from Earth and 23,873 miles from the Moon, cruising at 3,076 mph," writes NASA.