The Orion capsule will broadcast live images of the moon

Image captured by NASA's Orion spacecraft as it approached the moon. / NASA

Science | Space

After managing to overcome, for the first time since its launch, the limitations of bandwidth, NASA has announced that 'streaming' will be its priority, whenever possible

Elena Martin Lopez

On November 20, five days after the launch of the Artemis I mission, a camera mounted on the tip of one of the wings of the Orion solar array, launched aboard the SLS rocket, captured the first images of its approach to the moon. Orion entered the lunar sphere of influence at 8:00 p.m., making the main gravitational force now acting on it the satellite rather than Earth.

This Monday, after completing the first flyby of the capsule around the moon, NASA announced at a press conference, offered from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, that everything is going according to plan. Among other things, Mike Sarafin, manager of the Artemis I mission, has stated that the launch pad from which the SLS was propelled, in Florida, is "practically clean" and the infrastructure damage is "minor". «The thing you least want to find on the platform after a launch are parts of the spacecraft and in this case we have only found two, one from the rocket itself and another that detached from the Orion spacecraft, we do not know very well at what moment, but nothing worrisome," he said.

Later, Judd Frieling, flight director at the Johnson Space Center, celebrated that they are studying how to retransmit the images obtained by Orion live, having verified that it is possible. "Our pre-flight predictions said that we would not have enough bandwidth to do live transmissions, but we have verified that it is possible, so from now on that will be one of our priorities," he said. NASA has already created a
website for these broadcasts.

Image taken by NASA's Orion capsule, showing the Earth (in the background) and the moon. /


In its first turn around the satellite, the capsule has flown over the place where the Apollo 11 mission landed, in which humans stepped on the moon for the first time, but snapshots could not be obtained because at that time the lunar surface was in shadow . "When the ship passes through there again, on December 5, it will be that this area is illuminated and images can be obtained," Frieling declared.

For his part, Howard Hu, director of the Orion Program, added that the reception of the images has the entire team excited, "like children in a candy store" and that "the vehicle continues to work exceptionally, with really good performance. in all systems and subsystems. Likewise, he has celebrated that the capsule's solar panels are "generating 22.32% more energy than planned, and less is being spent than expected, which is also very positive news" .

The Artemis I mission began on November 16 with the launch of the Space Launch System rocket. On board the spacecraft was NASA's Orion capsule, which will travel approximately 40,000 miles beyond the Moon and back to Earth. The mission will last 25.5 days and splashdown is scheduled for December 11. As a whole, Artemis includes four missions that will allow human exploration on the Moon, where it is intended to prepare future manned missions to Mars.