Orion reacquired NASA’s Deep Space Network signal at 7:59 a.m., EST, after successfully performing the outbound powered flyby burn at 7:44 a.m., EST, with a firing of the orbital maneuvering system engine for 2 minutes and 30 seconds to accelerate the spacecraft at a rate of more than 580 mph.
At the time of the burn, Orion was 328 miles above the Moon, traveling at 5,023 mph. Shortly after the burn, Orion passed 81 miles above the Moon, traveling at 5,102 mph. At the time of the lunar flyby, Orion was more than 230,000 miles from Earth.
The outbound powered flyby burn is the first of two maneuvers required to enter the distant retrograde orbit around the Moon. The spacecraft will perform the distant retrograde orbit insertion burn Nov. 25, using the European Service Module. Orion will remain in this orbit for about a week to test spacecraft systems. The distant retrograde will take Orion 40,000 miles past the Moon before it returns to Earth. Orion’s greatest distance from the Earth will be Nov. 28 at more than 268,500 miles. Orion’s greatest distance from the Moon will be on Nov. 25, at more than 57,250 miles.
The Deep Space Network, managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, handles communications for Artemis I beyond low-Earth orbit. This includes the mission’s trajectory corrections, powered flyby burns, and insertion into and departure from distant retrograde orbit, while the Near Space Network provides supplemental navigation data with assistance from the Near Space Network’s tracking and data relay satellite constellation.
The Deep Space Network consists of three facilities spaced equidistant from each other — approximately 120 degrees apart in longitude around the world. These sites are at Goldstone, near Barstow, Calif.; near Madrid, Spain; and near Canberra, Australia. The strategic placement of these sites permits constant communication with spacecraft as our planet rotates — before a distant spacecraft sinks below the horizon at one site, another site can pick up the signal and carry on communicating. Orion initially regained signal with the Madrid ground station after the lunar flyby and then transitioned signal to the Goldstone station.