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You are here News Science NASA's Orion spacecraft reaches far side of moon, completes first such attempt since 1972

NASA's Orion spacecraft reaches far side of moon, completes first such attempt since 1972

NASA's ArtemisNASA's Artemis I Orion spacecraft completed a powered flyby maneuver on the far side of the moon on Monday, bringing it just 81 miles above the surface at 7:57 a.m. ET, a move that hasn't been attempted by a human-rated spacecraft since NASA's Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

The outbound powered flyby was the result of one of four positioning burns of Orion's Orbital Maneuvering System engine planned during the 26-day Artemis I mission to the moon and back.

The mission, composed of the crew and its three wired-up dummies, represents a huge milestone since NASA’s Apollo program 50 years ago. The $4.1 billion test flight began Wednesday.

Orion has spent about five days flying from Earth outbound to the moon. During Monday's livestream, NASA spokesperson Sandra Jones said the outbound powered flyby was necessary to bring Orion "close enough to the lunar surface to leverage the moon's gravitational force and swing the spacecraft around the moon toward entry into distant retrograde orbit."

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