Nov 22, 2022

Orion moonship operating in near-flawless fashion, mission managers say

Posted by in categories: energy, space

NASA’s unpiloted Orion moonship, sailing smoothly toward a remote lunar orbit after a spectacular low-altitude flyby Monday, is operating in near-flawless fashion, mission managers reported Monday, out-performing expectations on a flight to pave the way toward the first piloted mission in 2024.

An analysis of the huge Space Launch System rocket that boosted the Orion capsule on its way early Wednesday showed it performed almost exactly as expected, taking off atop 8.8 million pounds of thrust and producing a ground-shaking shock wave that literally blew the doors off launch pad elevators.

The core stage’s four upgraded space shuttle main engines and twin solid-fuel boosters propelled the 322-foot-tall rocket out of the atmosphere and into space almost exactly as planned. At main engine cutoff, the SLS was within 3 miles of its target altitude and within 5 mph of the predicted velocity.

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