The NASA moon mission "Artemis 1" is on its way home: the unmanned "Orion" capsule fired up its engines yesterday and swung out of its orbit around the moon, as the US space agency Nasa announced. On Monday, the capsule is scheduled to fly close to the moon again during its test flight before it is expected to return to Earth on December 11th.
The capsule swung into the orbit around 80,000 kilometers from the moon about a week ago and then flew halfway. Because of the great distance, it took her about six days. "Orion" flew around the moon in a direction opposite to that in which the moon orbits the earth. According to Nasa, this orbit had the advantage that it was very stable and "Orion" consumed comparatively little fuel on it.
The "Artemis 1" mission started its first test launch on November 16 (local time) after months of postponement. The "Orion" capsule was launched with the "Space Launch System" rocket from the Cape Canaveral cosmodrome in the US state of Florida. With the "Artemis" program, named after the Greek goddess of the moon, US astronauts are to land on the moon again in the coming years, including for the first time a woman and a non-white person.