A distant Earth and Orion capsule’s ‘moonikin’ are the Artemis mission’s first images

A distant Earth and Orion capsule’s ‘moonikin’ are the Artemis mission’s first images

NASA has launched the brand-new Orion satellite ,, which is designed to send astronauts further into space than ever before. It is currently heading toward the moon. Orion completed its thunderous liftoff from Earth at 1: 47 a.m. EST yesterday morning, launched via NASA’s powerful Artemis rocket. As Orion took to the sky, NASA’s launch commentator Derrol Nail yelled, “We Rise Together Back to the Moon and Beyond!” As the spacecraft continues its cosmic journeys, is giving us its first images .

Orion’s solar array wing camera took the images at over 57,000 miles away from the Earth. They show the Orbital Mneuvering System (OMS engine), which performed an outbound trajectory correction maneuver to ensure that Orion is on the correct path , today. OMS is the main engine: a re-purposed engine that has flown 19 times in other space shuttle flights from 1984 to 2002, according to NASA.

A distant Earth and Orion capsule’s ‘moonikin’ are the Artemis mission’s first images
The Earth as seen from Orion. CREDIT: NASA.

The picture also shows some of Orion’s eight auxiliary engines and one of its solar array wings, which use sunlight to generate power on the spacecraft.

[Related: With Artemis 1 launched, NASA is officially on its way back to the moon. ]

We are also getting a peek view inside Orion’s cabin, including one of the of the un-crewed mission’s “purposeful passengers” or “moonikins,” the mannequin-like objects standing in for astronauts on this mission. The pictured moonkin is named Campos in honor of Arturo Campos, who played a key role in bringing Apollo 13 safely back to Earth in 1970. Campos is wearing the same bright orange survival suit as the ones Artemis crews will wear on future journeys.

A distant Earth and Orion capsule’s ‘moonikin’ are the Artemis mission’s first images
Commander Moonkin Campos aboard Orion. CREDIT: NASA.

Twenty-four cameras are sprinkled around the rocket and spacecraft-eight on the Space Launch System and 16 on Orion. These cameras will capture images of Earth and moon as well as important mission events such as liftoff, ascent and solar array deployment.

“Each of Orion’s four solar array wings has a commercial off-the-shelf camera mounted at the tip that has been highly modified for use in space, providing a view of the spacecraft exterior,” says David Melendrez, imagery integration lead for the Orion Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, in a statement.

[Related: Why the SLS rocket fuel leaks weren’t a setback. ]

There are three wireless cameras inside the spacecraft that capture the views that astronauts will have during future Artemis missions. One camera looks out the front pilot window. The commander seat has a second camera. This is where you will find the instrument panel.

Orion is part of the Artemis I mission and is planned to travel about 40,000 miles beyond the moon. It is expected to fly by the moon on November 21 and is scheduled to return to Earth on December 11. NASA’s Artemis missions will allow it to land the first woman and first person of color on the moon. They will also study the long-term presence and potential dangers of humans on the moon.

“The Space Launch System rocket delivered the power and performance to send Orion on its way to the Moon,” says Mike Sarafin, Artemis I mission manager, in a statement following Wednesday’s launch. “With the achievement of the first major milestone in the mission, Orion will now begin the next phase to test its system and prepare for future missions.

Orion can be tracked throughout its mission here.

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