NASA unexpectedly misplaced contact with its moonbound Orion capsule early Wednesday morning (Nov. 23), for causes that stay unclear.
The uncrewed Orion has been performing properly since launching towards the moon final Wednesday (Nov. 16) on NASA’s Artemis 1 mission. However this Wednesday (Nov. 23) introduced a blip: Mission controllers misplaced communication with Orion at 1:09 a.m. EST (0609 GMT) whereas reconfiguring a hyperlink between the capsule and the Deep House Community, the set of radio dishes that NASA makes use of to speak to its farflung spacecraft.
“The reconfiguration has been performed efficiently a number of occasions in the previous few days, and the staff is investigating the reason for the lack of sign,” NASA officers wrote in a quick replace on Wednesday (opens in new tab).
“The staff resolved the difficulty with a reconfiguration on the bottom facet,” they added. “Engineers are inspecting knowledge from the occasion to assist decide what occurred, and the command and knowledge dealing with officer can be downlinking knowledge recorded onboard Orion in the course of the outage to incorporate in that evaluation.”
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The communication outage lasted 47 minutes, and Orion got here out of it in fine condition; the spacecraft is wholesome and suffered no obvious in poor health results, NASA officers mentioned.
Orion is gearing up for an important maneuver: It is scheduled to carry out an engine burn on Friday (Nov. 25) that may insert the capsule into orbit across the moon. If all goes properly, Orion will keep in that orbit for a few week, then head again towards Earth on Dec. 1.
The capsule will arrive right here with a parachute-aided splashdown within the Pacific Ocean off the California coast on Dec. 11.
Artemis 1 is a shakeout cruise for Orion and NASA’s large House Launch System, probably the most highly effective rocket ever to fly efficiently. The duo are slated to fly astronauts for the primary time in 2024 on Artemis 2, which can ship a crewed Orion across the moon.
Artemis 3 will comply with a 12 months or so later, touchdown astronauts close to the moon’s south pole — the place the place NASA goals to construct a crewed outpost, one of many important objectives of its Artemis program.
Mike Wall is the writer of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a e book in regards to the seek for alien life. Comply with him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Fb (opens in new tab).