NASA's Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft reaches maximum distance from Earth today

NASA's Artemis 1 mission will reach its maximum distance from Earth today.

Artemis 1, the first flight of the Artemis program, will see the Orion spacecraft get nearly 270,000 miles (435,000 kilometers) from Earth on Monday (Nov. 28), NASA officials wrote in a statement (opens in new tab).

Orion has already surpassed the previous farthest distance from Earth reached by a human-rated spacecraft on its journey around the moon. On Saturday (Nov. 26), the uncrewed capsule flew past the record-setting distance achieved by the Apollo 13 crewed command module, surpassing 248,655 miles (400,171 km) from Earth at about 8:40 a.m. EST (1340 GMT) that day.

Orion is an uncrewed journey around the moon to let NASA engineers assess the spacecraft's readiness ahead of human missions, which are currently planned to begin with the crewed Artemis 2 mission looping around the moon in 2024 or so.

In photos: Amazing views of NASA's Artemis 1 moon rocket debut

You can follow live views in real time either through this camera feed (opens in new tab), or as an animation, on this NASA website (opens in new tab). The animated website shows how far Orion is from Earth at any given moment.

The website shows Orion in space, along with its mission elapsed time, velocity, and distance from Earth and the moon. You can look at different views of the spacecraft by switching between solar array cameras or views of the mission track or spacecraft.

Orion is set to return to Earth on Dec. 11 with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, as long as the mission continues to go to plan.

Elizabeth Howell is the co-author of "Why Am I Taller (opens in new tab)?" (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book about space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. Elizabeth's reporting includes an exclusive with Office of the Vice-President of the United States, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and (soon) a Bachelor of History from Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace

  • DrRaviSharma
    Admin said:
    The Artemis 1 spacecraft will be farthest from Earth Monday (Nov. 28) before turning around to return home.

    NASA's Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft reaches maximum distance from Earth today : Read more
    I wanted to ask two Questions:
    Are we monitoring real life support systems such as consumption of oxygen, dumping of waste water, monitoring contamination and also using backup manual inertial systems such as star trackers. This would in addition to bio-parameters of robotic astronauts would be a good test, if it is being done?
    Why did the NASA team not use the Orion orbiting capability to go in orbit around the lunar south pole as this would have simulated Artemis 2 path towards success and proven orbit maneuvering capabilities more than a mere large orbit for radiation and other monitoring and maybe they had enough fuel to do both?
    Can this be added to the mission now; of course some increase in risk for safe return and landing test on the earth?
    Ravi
    (Dr. Ravi Sharma, Ph.D. USA)
    NASA Apollo Achievement Award
    Chair, Ontology Summit 2022
    Reply
  • billslugg
    The "Distant Retrograde Orbit" requires less fuel to enter and maintain than a direct orbit.
    Reply
  • DrRaviSharma
    Thanks Billslug - but are we fuel limited on Orion?
    But we will need that capability for Artemis 2 with additional 4 astronauts and their life support etc. anyway?
    Reply
  • billslugg
    With no one on board they could probably enter whatever orbit they wanted. I suppose they are simply practicing fuel conservation techniques. When they land this at the poles of the Moon, the fuel requirements will be much greater as they must change the orbital plane in order to land at the poles. More fuel means more rocks can be brought back.
    Reply