NASA’s Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft leaves the moon’s orbit and head toward Earth

After NASA’s Artemis 1 Orion Spacecraft successfully accomplished its mission around the moon’s orbit, it ignited a lunar departure burn on December 1 to commence its journey back to earth. How will the Orion Spacecraft make its return trip to Earth? Continue reading to find out.

How Orion Spacecraft is making its way back to Earth

On Thursday, December 1, NASA’s Orion Spacecraft initiated a burn that enabled it to leave the lunar orbit and begin its journey to Earth. NASA Television commentator Shaneequa Vereen revealed that the spacecraft initiated the burn at 4:54 p.m. EST (2154 GMT) and it lasted for less than two minutes.

“Orion has had a successful and nominal, 1 minute and 45 seconds, distant retrograde orbit departure burn,” Vereen announced during NASA’s broadcast of the burn.

NASA Television’s live broadcast showed Orion’s solar panels smoothly heading towards Earth, which could be seen in the background as a tiny celestial object. The Orion Spacecraft is expected to travel for about ten days before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California on December 11.

During this period, the spacecraft will travel across the radiating environment of space before entering into Earth’s orbit. Upon entering Earth’s orbit, it will gradually make its way to the planned splashdown sight and safely descend to Earth from Space. Upon splashdown, NASA will recover the capsule and announce the end of the Artemis 1 mission.

NASA is already working in partnership with the United States Navy to ensure the success of the recovery mission. Experts from both government institutions have already commenced training that will guarantee the success of the operation. Keep in mind that the Orion Spacecraft was launched into space atop NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket on November 16, initiating the beginning of NASA’s Artemis Space Program. The Artemis mission was planned to test both the SLS rocket and the Orion Spacecraft to ensure that they can safely carry astronauts into deep space.

What is Next After Artemis 1 mission?

If Artemis 1 mission ended successfully, NASA would use the data obtained to prepare for Artemis 2 mission. During Artemis 2 which will be coming up in 2024, NASA plans to launch a human crew into the moon orbit. After Artemis 2, comes Artemis 3 mission which will land the first crew members on the lunar surface. NASA is looking forward to establishing a sustainable crewed lunar outpost close to the moon’s south pole before the end of this decade.

If the agency succeeds with its Artemis space program, it may move into advanced missions of sending astronauts to the moon yearly and establishing a permanent human presence on the moon. NASA mission managers announced on November 30 that the Artemis 1 has so far met its mission benchmarks starting with the successful launch of the SLS rocket on Nov. 16, to the Orion Spacecraft successfully completing its exploration around the moon’s orbit.

“The first launch of the Space Launch System rocket was simply eye-watering,” Artemis mission manager Mike Sarafin said. “While our mission with Orion is still underway and we continue to learn over the course of our flight, the rocket’s systems performed as designed and as expected in every case,” he concluded.


NASA Artemis 1 mission is about to come to earth. The successful outcome of this mission will help NASA in preparing for its future Artemis space missions into deep space. While we wait for the Artemis 1 spacecraft to arrive on Earth on Dec. 11, we can focus on tracking its current movement in deep space using this NASA designed tool. What are your thoughts about the outcome of the Artemis 1 mission?

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3 thoughts on “NASA’s Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft leaves the moon’s orbit and head toward Earth”

  1. Well done gentlemen. Congratulations!
    You represent one of the few reasons that make me feel proud to be human!

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