Home ASTRONOMY NASA’s Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft splash down

NASA’s Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft splash down

NASA’s Orion spacecraft will splash down in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday, Dec 11, after completing a two-orbit mission around the Earth.

Orion is an American space capsule designed to carry astronauts to deep-space destinations such as the moon and Mars. The spacecraft is currently being developed by NASA, with contributions from European and Canadian space agencies.

Orion will make two orbits of Earth before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean, about 600 miles (965 kilometers) west of Baja California, Mexico. Splashdown is scheduled for 11:29 a.m. EDT (1529 GMT).

After the splashdown, Orion will be retrieved by a team of Navy sailors and taken to Naval Base San Diego for processing.

During its maiden voyage, Orion will not carry any astronauts. Instead, the capsule will be outfitted with instruments to collect data about its performance during launch and flight.

Orion’s first mission, Artemis 1, is a test flight to demonstrate the spacecraft’s capabilities. The ultimate goal of the Artemis program is to send humans back to the moon by 2024 and establish a sustainable presence there by 2028.


Orion splashing down will not be easy. A few minutes before, It has to do a big job. It might have to be weird the extreme heat, and high velocity entering the earth’s atmosphere. The heat would be reached half of the sun’s temperature.

NASA is going to perform splashing in 8 sequence steps to make it more reliable and secure. These 8 steps are given as follows.

1. Separation from the service module

The first step of splashing will be the separation of the Orion capsule from its service module, which contains the thruster, engine, and solar arrays for the spacecraft. it is built by the Europian space agency. The capsule separation will take place around 12 p.m. EST(1700 GMT), about 40 minutes before splashdown.

2. Skips off earth’s atmosphere

After separation from the service module, Orion will be ready to attempt a guidance and control maneuver called skip-entry. This will be the first time skip-entry maneuver for a human spacecraft.

It is just like a stone skipping across a pond. Orion will be dipping into the earth’s atmosphere, skipping out, and then re-entering. it will help Orion to land in a more precise way or closer to the cost of the united states.

3. Orian in Earth’s atmosphere

After the skip maneuver, Orion will finally enter earth’s atmosphere at a high speed of 25,000 mph(40,000km/h). During the entering, its surface temperature will be reached at half of the sun’s which is 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit (2,800 degrees Celsius). And this will be the real-time to test of the Orion heat shield’s ability to protect spacecraft and future passengers.

4. open protective bay cover

After the worst entry into the atmosphere, the spacecraft deploys a forward bay cover to protect the capsule’s parachutes. The cover is made up of titanium lightweight and extremely strong.
It protects parachutes from the extreme temperature of 5,000-degree Farenheight upon re-entry until the right moment.

5.open Drogue parachutes

Orion will perform several stages of parachutes to slow down the spacecraft. At the height of 25,000 feet, it will release the two drogue parachutes, which slow the spacecraft’s speed to roughly 100 mph(160 km/h). It is used to slow and stabilize the crew module during descent and helps to establish proper conditions for main parachute deployment to follow. The Drogue parachutes are 80 pounds(36kg) each in mass and are made of kevlar/nylon hybrid material.

6. deploy pilot parachutes

After the Drogue parachutes cut away. Orion will deploy the three pilot parachutes which are approximately 11 pounds (5kg) in mass each and also made of kevlar/Nylon hybrid material.
It will deploy when the spacecraft is roughly 9,500 feet (2900m) above the ground. At this stage, the spacecraft will travel at speed of 190 feet(130m) per second.

7.open main parachutes

The last step is to deploy a set of Orion’s 11 parachutes of the three main parachutes which are deployed by the pilot parachutes. It reduces speed to 20mph(32km/h). Each parachute is roughly 265 feet(80 meters ) long from top to attachment.

8. splashes down in the pacific

After performing all the above steps successfully, Orion will splash down off the coast of San Diego at 12:40 p.m. EST(1740 GMT). The U.S navy and NASA’s exploration ground systems recovery team of
Kennedy Space Center will work together to retrieve the spacecraft.

How Orion spacecraft different

The Orion spacecraft for Artemis 1 will be different from any previous one. It will be the first Orion to fly with the Space Launch System (SLS), and it will be carrying crew for the first time.

The SLS provides more power than any other rocket currently in operation, which means it can carry heavier payloads and achieve higher speeds. With the SLS, Orion can travel farther and faster than any previous spacecraft, making a round trip to Mars possible within a human lifetime.

Orion’s European Service Module (ESM), provided by our partners at the European Space Agency (ESA), will give the spacecraft the power and propulsion it needs to leave Earth’s orbit and journey beyond. The ESM is outfitted with state-of-the-art solar panels, batteries, engines, and other systems that work together to keep Orion healthy and on course during its long voyage.

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Hey, My name is sumitDevs an experienced programmer with a passion for writing on niche topics such as astronomy. With a background in computer science and extensive experience in programming, I have a deep understanding of technology and its application to various industries.


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