Watch NASA begin testing the Orion capsule for a flyby of the moon

NASA begins testing the Orion capsule for the Artemis II mission.

NASA has begun testing the Orion spacecraft that will carry four astronauts on a trip around the moon on the Artemis II mission currently scheduled for 2025.

The space agency shared a video (below) showing the Orion capsule being transported into an enhanced vacuum chamber inside the Operations and Inspection Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. There it will undergo compatibility and electromagnetic interference testing.

Over the summer, engineers will return Orion to space for tests that closely simulate the conditions of the vacuum of space. The new control room overlooking the upgraded space contains several workstations and communications equipment, NASA said in an article providing some background information on the agency’s work in preparing the capsule for flight. Other facility upgrades have been made in preparation for Orion tests.

Commenting on the start of testing of the Artemis II spacecraft, NASA’s Marie Reed said: “This is an incredible opportunity to lead a diverse and extraordinary team to reactivate the capability to test NASA’s next generation spacecraft that will take humans back to the moon. ”

Other Orion spacecraft have flown to the moon and back. The uncrewed Artemis I mission was launched by NASA’s next-generation SLS rocket and sent Orion flying past the moon in its first test flight. NASA’s Artemis II mission will follow a similar route, sending four crew members around the moon, as close as 80 miles to the surface. The goal of the approximately 10-day journey is to ensure the safety of the spacecraft for future manned lunar missions.

The smooth flight of Artemis II will pave the way for the highly anticipated Artemis III mission which will carry the first woman and first person of color to the lunar surface. Artemis III is currently scheduled for 2026. In this mission, the crew will transfer from the Orion spacecraft to SpaceX’s Starship HLS vehicle currently under development. The Starship will then descend to the lunar surface for the first manned landing on the moon since the final Apollo mission in 1972.

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