NASA’s Orion spacecraft returned to Earth after a momentous mission to the moon, the agency announced Sunday
Having traveled over 1.4 million miles on a path around the moon, it splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, west of Baja California at 9.40 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (1740GMT), said the agency in a statement.
“The splashdown is the final milestone of the Artemis I mission that began with a successful liftoff of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket Nov. 16, from Launch Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Over the course of 25.5 days, NASA tested Orion in the harsh environment of deep space before flying astronauts on Artemis II,” it said.
Jim Free, NASA associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, noted that the next mission aims to fly a crew to the moon for the first time as part of the “next era of exploration.”
“This begins our path to a regular cadence of missions and a sustained human presence at the moon for scientific discovery and to prepare for human missions to Mars.”