After a successful unmanned trip around the Moon on Sunday, the Orion spacecraft splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean. With the goal of sending and retrieving people from the moon in a few of years, the Artemis 1 mission, which lasted more than 25 days, was now complete.
At a speed of 25,000 miles per hour (40,000 kilometres per hour), the capsule sped into the Earth’s atmosphere. Then, off the Baja California peninsula of Mexico, it was seen floating in the water with the aid of three huge orange and white parachutes.
‘I don’t think any one of us could have imagined the mission this successful,’ said Artemis Mission Manager Mike Sarafin in a press conference.
‘We now have a foundational deep space transportation system.’
Three sensor-equipped mannequins served as the fictitious crew on the gumdrop-shaped Orion capsule.
Before being placed onboard a US Naval warship for a trip to San Diego, California, the capsule will undergo an inspection that will last around five hours and be accompanied by a number of swift boats from the US military.
More than a million miles away from Earth, Orion travelled farther than any other habitable spaceship before it.
‘For years, thousands of individuals have poured themselves into this mission, which is inspiring the world to work together to reach untouched cosmic shores,’ said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
‘Today is a huge win for NASA, the United States, our international partners, and all of humanity,’ he added.
During the mission, the capsule flew less than 80 miles from the surface of the moon in a lunar fly-by. It also reached its farthest point in space, nearly 270,000 miles (434,500 km) from Earth.