Re-entering the earth's atmosphere put the capsule's heat shield to a severe test, as it had to withstand temperatures of around 2800 degrees Celsius. That is almost half as hot as on the sun's surface.
Nasa spoke of a "perfect water landing" of the capsule, which apparently remained undamaged. The mission is a "great success for NASA, the United States, our international partners and all of humanity," said US Space Agency chief Bill Nelson.
After months of postponements, NASA launched the Artemis 1 mission on November 16 with its new giant SLS rocket. The purpose of the mission was to verify that the capsule is safe for future crews.
The Orion capsule traveled more than 2.2 million kilometers. It broke the distance record for a habitable space capsule when it traveled around 450,000 kilometers from Earth. On Monday, the probe had approached the moon to around 130 kilometers.
The follow-up mission Artemis 2 should then bring astronauts into a lunar orbit. With Artemis 3, another moon landing should not be successful before 2025 at the earliest. The aim of the Artemis program is to establish a permanent presence on the moon - in order to prepare for an onward journey to Mars.