Orion spacecraft’s powered lunar flyby LIVE now, What is it ? and why is it important?

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Artemis 1 Mission update Orion spacecrafts powered lunar flyby LIVE now What is it  and why is it importantNASA’s Artemis-1 Mission is on its way to the Moon. The Orion spacecraft is currently attempting a powered flyby maneuver on the Moon. During this maneuver, the spacecraft will be coming as close as 130km from the surface of the moon.

Watch the Orion spacecraft’s lunar-powered flyby maneuver Live

What is a Powered flyby maneuver?

The powered flyby, or Oberth maneuver, is a maneuver in which a spacecraft falls into a gravitational well and then uses its engines to further accelerate as it is falling, thereby achieving additional speed. This 195 m/s change in speed uses the Moon’s gravity to assist it in an elliptical orbit around the Moon, not braking the spacecraft as you might expect. These maneuvers are common in spaceflight and are called gravity-assists.

The burn is slated to last two and a half minutes, and the maneuver will take place while the spacecraft is behind the moon, during a 34-minute blackout period when the spacecraft is not in communication with Earth.

“This is absolutely a critical burn. It’s one that Orion has to perform,” said Jim Geffre, Orion vehicle integration manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, during a Nov. 18 briefing. The burn can be done by the main engine or several auxiliary thrusters if there is a problem with the main engine. “We designate it as critical, which is why we configured the software to ensure that burn happens.”

A second maneuver, scheduled for Nov. 25, will insert Orion into the distant retrograde orbit, going as far as 432,000 kilometers from the Earth. It will remain in that orbit for six days before performing two more maneuvers to exit the orbit and fly by the moon again, returning to Earth.

Why is this important?

The powered flyby maneuver is a more efficient way to gain kinetic energy than applying the same impulse outside of a gravitational well. In practical terms, this means that the most energy-efficient method for a spacecraft to burn its fuel is at the lowest possible orbital periapsis, when its orbital velocity (and so, its kinetic energy) is greatest.

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